Three Ways to Make Cheap Shoes Less Smelly

October 28, 2016

Three Ways to Make Cheap Shoes Less Smelly

If you are like most women, inexpensive footwear is a part of life. DSW, Target, and Payless Shoe Source offer “affordable” footwear options. In order to offer these shoes to consumers for a price point that is cheaper than a dinner in a major city, they are made using synthetic or man-made materials which are polymer-based. Polymer is another word for plastic, and shoes made from plastic don't breathe. This is one reason why you may notice that your feet and shoes smell when you are wearing shoes made from synthetic materials.

Funhouse Labs is here to help! 


Helpful suggestion #1: Use rubbing alcohol to wipe down both your feet and the inside of your shoes at the start of the day


This is a tip I learned once on a family reunion. My aunt was discussing how her husband, a farmer, had been using rubbing alcohol in lieu of deodorant for years. Other men came forward saying that they had done this before, too. I had never heard of this being done by anyone before, but I figured that the rubbing alcohol must be killing the bacteria that causes stinky underarm odor. I tried using rubbing alcohol to wipe down the inside of my cheap flats and I also wiped down the bottom of my feet with it too, for extra measure. After doing this for a few days, the odor was gone. Now when I wear a pair of cheap shoes I wipe down the insides of them with rubbing alcohol once a week before the bacteria and odor develop.

rubbing the shoes


Helpful suggestion #2: Drill a pair of tiny holes in the side of your shoe


Remember those small holes that were in our sneakers as children? They were there to act as vents, so that our active playful feet can release some of the moisture and sweat as a result of our physical activities.

The same principle can be used to help make cheap shoes made of synthetics more breathable. You can use a Dremel or a regular household drill with a tiny, tiny, bit to make a pair of small holes at the instep of the shoe. It is important to make two holes for proper airflow.

shoe vent holes

*A cautionary note: the drilling is somewhat of an "advanced" move. I would suggest practicing first on cardboard, and then on a pair of old-ish shoes. The drill needs to be spinning at a high speed in order to make a clean hole AND you need to avoid your fingers.


Helpful suggestion #3: Exfoliate your feet, hardcore


Removing dead skin cells is a great way to ensure that they don't end up inside your shoes getting stuck all over the place and gunking up the footbed. A pumice stone used either wet or dry all along the bottom of your feet (especially in your dry areas, such as the heels) will grab and capture any and all dead skin. Be sure to rinse out or tap-tap-tap the pumice stone (gently, as to not break the stone) to release all of the dead skin you have removed.

natural pumice stone



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