How to Deal with Smelly Football Boots: Banish Odors for Good

You’ve just finished a grueling game and as you unlace your football boots, a familiar, pungent odor wafts up to greet you. It’s not the trophy you were hoping for, is it? Smelly football boots are practically a rite of passage for players, but they don’t have to be your status quo.

Battling the stench may seem like a daunting task, but fear not! You’re about to learn some simple, effective tricks to freshen up those funky boots. From home remedies to preventative care, you’ll be kicking off in fresh-smelling footwear in no time.

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So, let’s dive in and tackle that stink head-on. Say goodbye to holding your breath every time you peel off those boots and hello to a fresher, more pleasant post-game experience.

Understanding the cause of smelly football boots

When you’re up to your neck in football as much as I am, you’ll know that smelly boots are more than just a minor inconvenience. As someone who’s lived and breathed the sport, both on the field and from the sidelines, addressing the root of the problem is as important as any game strategy.

Sweat is the primary culprit, but there’s more to it. Your feet have about 250,000 sweat glands and can produce nearly half a pint of sweat during intense physical activity. Moist environments like the insides of your football boots are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, which feast on sweat and dead skin cells, causing that notoriously foul odor.

But it doesn’t stop there. Fungi, such as the ones that cause athlete’s foot, can also flourish in your damp boots. Aside from the smell, these fungi can lead to skin issues, compounding your troubles.

To tackle this, keep in mind:

  • Moisture is enemy number one.
  • Heat accelerates bacteria growth.
  • Poor hygiene can exacerbate the problem.

Remember that smelly football boots aren’t a reflection of your personal cleanliness—they’re simply an occupational hazard of the sport you love. And just as you develop your football skills over time, so too can you master the art of keeping your boots fresh and ready for action.

Cleaning and deodorizing your boots with household items

You know the drill after practice or a game: your boots have worked as hard as you have on the field. Now, they need a thorough clean. Before your boots have a chance to marinate in their own sweat, take action with items you’ve likely got around your house.

Start with a dry brush to remove loose dirt and mud. This simple step prevents excess grime from creating a sludge during the washing process. Next, create a gentle cleaning solution with water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Using a soft-bristled brush or a cloth, give your boots a careful scrubbing, focusing on especially dirty areas. Avoid submerging your boots to prevent damaging the material.

For the insides, where the stench lives, sprinkle baking soda liberally. This household staple is excellent for neutralizing odors. Leave the powder in overnight, then shake it out the next day. If there’s a lingering smell, consider stuffing your boots with newspaper. The paper absorbs moisture and helps boots retain their shape.

Another home remedy involves using vinegar, which has natural deodorizing properties. Create a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar, and lightly mist the interior of the boots. Let them air dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight.

Remember that drying your boots properly plays a significant role in warding off unwanted scents. Never place them near heaters or use a hairdryer, as high heat can damage the boots. Instead, opt for a spot with plenty of airflows, or if you must speed up the drying, use a fan.

  • Dry brush
  • Mild dish soap
  • Soft-bristled brush or cloth
  • Baking soda
  • Newspaper
  • Vinegar

Using commercial shoe deodorizers and sprays

When you’re out there coaching or practicing with your team, there’s not always time for home remedies – that’s when commercial shoe deodorizers and sprays come in handy. These products are specifically formulated to tackle the tough odors that football boots can harbor after a grueling match or an intense training session. They’re convenient, quick to use, and very effective at eliminating bad smells.

Look for deodorizers that contain natural ingredients like essential oils, as they’re less likely to irritate your skin or cause any adverse effects when your feet are back in the game. Some products also come with antimicrobial properties that not only mask the odors but also help to kill the bacteria causing them. Remember, keeping your boots free from bacteria is not just about eliminating odor, it’s about maintaining good foot health, too.

Nowadays, there’s a wealth of options on the market:

  • Odor sprays
  • Scented balls for boots
  • Deodorizing pouches

Odor sprays are as simple as it gets. Just a few squirts into each boot can make a world of difference. Turn to scented balls which you can toss into each boot after use; they’re like a breath of fresh air for your footwear. Deodorizing pouches with activated charcoal or other absorbing materials can be placed inside your boots when they’re not in use, pulling the odors right out.

What’s essential is that you let the deodorizer do its work. Sprays and pouches need time to absorb and neutralize the odors. Set your boots in a well-ventilated area after using these products and give them plenty of time to air out.

While commercial deodorizers are a quick fix, incorporating them as a regular part of your boot maintenance routine can prolong the life of your boots and keep them smelling fresh throughout the season. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results and to ensure that you’re not damaging the material of your beloved football boots. Keep your focus on the game, not on your feet.

Preventative measures to keep your boots smelling fresh

As a football coach passionate about the sport, you know all too well the struggle against smelly football boots. These preventative steps can help you keep them smelling fresh, so you can focus on the game rather than any unpleasant distractions.

Dryness is key to maintaining odor-free football boots. Moisture is the playground for bacteria that cause smelly boots. After every practice or game, make sure to remove your boots and air them out. If they’re particularly soaked, stuff them with newspaper to absorb the excess moisture. It not only speeds up the drying process but also helps to maintain the shape of your boots.

It’s not just about the boots; it’s also about your socks and feet. Always wear fresh, clean socks before you slip into your boots. And whenever possible, treat your feet with an antibacterial spray or powder to create an unwelcoming environment for bacteria.

Here’s a trick from the playbook:

  • Rotate your boots if you have an extra pair. This gives them time to air out completely between uses.
  • Invest in breathable boot storage bags that allow airflow, reducing the risk of odor buildup when your boots are not in use.

Maintain a regular cleaning schedule for your boots. This doesn’t mean a full wash after every use, but at least wiping them down and checking for mud or debris that can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Lastly, look into using cedar wood insoles or inserts which have natural deodorizing properties. These can help to absorb excess moisture and keep your boots smelling forest-fresh. Remember to replace them periodically to ensure their effectiveness.

Implementing these preventative measures in your routine can go a long way in warding off that infamous locker room stench and keeping your football boots in top-notch condition. Keep the focus on your footwork and strategy, not the funk lurking in your boots.


You’ve got all the tips you need to tackle those smelly football boots head-on. Remember, keeping them dry and fresh is key. Air them out, stuff them with newspaper, and don’t forget those clean socks. If you can, rotate your boots and store them properly. Stick to a cleaning routine and consider those cedar wood insoles for an extra freshness boost. With these strategies, you’ll be sure to keep the funk at bay and your boots ready for action. Happy playing!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent my football boots from smelling?

To prevent football boots from smelling, ensure they are completely dry before storing them, use newspaper to absorb moisture, wear fresh socks, and use antibacterial treatments on your feet. Rotating between different pairs of boots and storing them in breathable bags can also help. Additionally, maintain a cleaning routine and consider using cedar wood insoles or inserts for their natural deodorizing properties.

Is it important to air out football boots after use?

Yes, airing out football boots after every use is crucial for preventing odor buildup by allowing moisture to evaporate and stopping bacterial growth that can cause bad smells.

Can newspaper really help keep my football boots fresh?

Newspaper is effective for keeping football boots fresh as it absorbs excess moisture from the boots, a key factor in preventing bacterial growth and odor.

Should I use antifungal spray or powder on my feet before wearing football boots?

Using an antifungal spray or powder can help treat your feet and reduce the risk of odors in your football boots caused by bacterial and fungal growth.

Why is it suggested to rotate football boots?

Rotating football boots gives each pair time to air out properly, reducing the likelihood of moisture buildup and subsequent odor development.

Are cedar wood insoles effective in deodorizing football boots?

Yes, cedar wood insoles have natural deodorizing properties that can help keep your football boots smelling fresh longer.

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