How Can You Prevent Your Golf Shoes from Smelling Horrible? (9 Methods)

Smelly shoes are just as embarrassing as torn socks.

The reason why shoes are prone to pick a stink is that an average human has about 200,000 sweat glands on their feet alone!

All these need to be left alone to breathe.

When you confine them in a closed shoe, the sweat builds up to create a breeding environment for odor-causing bacteria.

So, How Can You Prevent Your Golf Shoes From Smelling?

A pair of sweat-wicking socks is the most effective answer, but don’t be surprised to hear that baking soda can do the same job at a negligible cost. There’s a whole list of ways around this problem.

Try out one or several of these tricks of freshness:

1. Start By Washing Them Often

The first and obvious way to keep your shoes smelling fresh is to wash them and their insoles more often.

However, go slow on hot water and detergents – these two may degrade the materials that hold your shoes together and could mean sooner replacement.

Simply handwash them in cool water with your favorite disinfectant – you can start with Pine-Sol and Lysol.

Related: Can You Wash Golf Equipment in The Dishwasher or Washing Machine?

2. Buy A Pair Of Sweat-Wicking Socks

Just like other sportspersons, golfers prefer socks made of sweat-wicking materials like Cool-Max and Polypropylene thermoplastics.

Not only are these materials more comfortable than nylon and cotton, but also help absorb and wick away the sweat, helping keep your feet dry.

Dry feet reduce the likelihood bacteria could grow in your shoes and turn them into a stinking hell. Stay away from cotton socks by all means.

3. Dry Your Shoes Between Wearing

You don’t really need to wash your shoes after every use, but be certain to wipe them after use.

Also, don’t keep them damp or in a disused state – say, in your gold bag or shoe rack – for too long even if they are clean.

Wear to keep them moisture-free. Once in a while, add a few bundles of paper or towels to keep them dry.

Better yet, you can buy Stuffitts Shoe Savers , a pair of shoe inserts made of cedar shavings.

They ensure that your shoes dry faster after removing them to give the microbes less time to multiply and create a bad smell.

Related: Is It Ok To Play Golf Barefoot?

4. Try Out Some Copper Sole Socks

Wicking the sweat from your feet is half the journey – you need to take extra steps to keep bacteria growth to a minimum.

Enter copper sole socks. They are a darling of those who wear less-breathable shoes.

They are normally woven with either copper or silver fibers. Aetrex is known for such socks.

5. Try A Home Remedy

Chances are your kitchen has all the answers to your smelly shoe problems. Have you ever tried one of these?

Baking soda

Anyone with knowledge of home remedies would get rid of almost every bad odor with sodium bicarbonate (often mixed with vinegar).

From smelly shoes to fridges, baking soda is the first go-to odor remover before figuring out a better and more lasting solution.

The best thing is that it is one of the easiest kitchen ingredients to get – you probably have a packet already.

Fresh orange

This isn’t limited to orange peels but grapefruit, lemon, lime, and pretty every other citrus fruit as well.

Take their peels, stuff a few in your shoes, and wait to wake up to fresh-smelling shoes.

Citrus fruit peels contain essential oils that are responsible for the enticing smell you normally get from these fruits.

Black teabags

The magic of black tea is in tannic acid, a constituent element known for its ant-bacterial properties.

As you already know, damp shoes stink because of the activities of bacteria.

Get yourself a few black tea teabags (2 – 4 is about enough), soak them in a small amount of hot water until they are moist and cool, then insert them in your shoes.

Essential oils

If you already have some of these in your medicine cabinet, grab one and drip 3 – 5 drops into your shoes to get a fresh smell.

You can use clove, tea tree, eucalyptus, or clove.

If you don’t like the idea of putting the essential oil directly on the shoes, drip it on a piece of clean tissue or paper, roll it, and insert it in there. Let it stay there overnight.

Cat litter

If a cat has ever peed on your sofas for months unnoticed then you know how hard it is to eliminate the odor.

The good thing about cat litter, other than providing a chilling spot for the felines, is its clay composition which is designed to absorb foul odors.

From garbage cans to shoes, cat litter doubles as an odor remover for almost any surface in homes.

Try out odor removers

Go for more specific odor removers like MISTER MINIT’s fresh which is equipped with anti-bacteria enzymes.

6. Insert Some Fabric Softener Sheets

What you probably didn’t know is that sheets of fabric softeners can help restore the fresh smell in your overused shoes at a very low cost.

You might want to combine them with one of the home remedies mentioned above for better results.

Tuck a few sheets of your fabric softener into each shoe and let them neutralize the odors overnight.

Also, it is recommended that you deodorize the shoe storage area and bags to increase their effectiveness.

For your golf or gym bag, drop one or two dry sheets at the bottom and let them stay there with your shoes for days.

7. Wash Them In A Washer, Then Dry

It is OK to soak certain types of shoes in the washer before drying them immediately with a dryer.

Be careful as some shoes weren’t designed for the washer – read the instructions that came with your pair to find this out.

Most sneakers can be put in a washer and dried with a dryer without damages.

Make sure your dryer has an attachment or shelf to hold the shoes.

If it doesn’t, abandon the whole idea because your machine could end up damaged.

Related: Should You Get White Golf Shoes?

8. Treat Your Sick Feet

Diseased feet are some of the least mentioned causes of bad shoe odors.

There’s a name for it – bromodosis, or simply ‘smelly feet condition.’

Bromodiosis is caused by an accumulation of sweat in glands which eventually escalates the growth of bacteria on your skin.

Fungal infections such as athlete’s foot can progress into bromodosis as well.

Here is how to treat Bromodiosis and keep your feet fresh:

Give Your Smelly Feet An Underarm Treatment

Take one of those underarm antiperspirants you often use to minimize sweat production and apply them on your feet to do the same job.

Wash your feet often

Never go to bed with unwashed feet. Use ample warm water and antimicrobial or deodorant soap.


You should form a habit of washing and blow-drying your feet before wearing your shoes and after removing them.

This goes a long way to prevent your shoes from picking a bad smell – it is known to cure nail fungus and athlete’s foot.

Black tea footbath

We mentioned this earlier in a different context.

The tannic acid that comes with your tea can also be used to close the pores in your feet and reduce the growth of odor-inducing bacteria.

Boil some and keep your feet in there before going to sleep to prepare for an odor-free tomorrow.

You can mix it with vinegar and few drops of your favorite mouth wash to increase its odor and anti-microbial properties.

Fragrant foot swab/rub

This can be used to reduce the smell but won’t treat the condition.

Get yourself an organic fragrant and rub a few drops on your clean feet before wearing the shoes.

Your shoes will still smell great in the evening when you remove them.

Don’t use regular body fragrances to freshen your feet – they were never designed to be used in closed spaces, such as shoes.

9. Wash Your Socks

Another less mentioned yet notorious producer of odors are dirty socks.

No matter how often you like to wash your shoes, they will still smell if you keep wearing them with dirty socks.

The rule of thumb is to never wear the same pair of socks twice without washing.


Keeping your shoes fresh shouldn’t be hard.

A look on your kitchen shelves can reveal several ‘kitchen chemicals’ that can be used to fight odors.

Baking powder is an example.

Perhaps the most obvious thing you could do is to keep your socks clean and treat your feet if they are diseased.

Some types of socks are made of sweat-wicking materials and can be used to reduce sweating and get rid of bad odors.


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