Hiking Boots Get Smelly – How to Get Rid of the Bad Smell Easily

One of the best parts about hiking is that you can go through mud and puddles without stressing out that you’ll ruin your boots. Joke aside, one of the signs you’ve had a good hike is that you go back home with your shoes all dirty and muddy.

Cleaning your hiking footwear is mandatory for expanding their lifespan, and you should never skip that step. One thing it’s also difficult to control is the funky smell in your boots. You could clean the footwear, but only if you have plenty of hours to spare. De-odorizing the footwear will take you less than 10 minutes, so keep reading for the details.

What’s the most straightforward way to de-stink your hiking footwear?

As you’re hiking, your footwear will get damp from the sweat or outside moisture. Even if you have breathable and well-ventilated boots, the risk for unpleasant smell is never null. The dark and humid environments are the perfect place for fungus and bacteria to grow, translating into the bad smell.

Cover-up smells won’t make a proper solution, and it will not last for a long time either. Here are the steps to take for de-odorizing your hiking footwear.

Begin with the insoles

Nine times out of ten, the nasty smell develops on the insoles. Cheap insoles become sponges that soak up moisture and sweat. Sometimes, cleaning the insoles with some dish soap and warm water will eliminate the bad smell. However, you have to use the right amount of soap to deal with a foamy disaster.

Cleaning the insoles

Rub-down the insoles thoroughly, using your fingers. You have to continually squeeze the soap through the material, rinsing at the same time. Don’t stop rinsing until you get all the soap out of the insoles. Hiking in soapy footwear is anything but pleasant.

If cleaning the insoles doesn’t get you far, you will have to take more measures, but it’s not scouring the boots we’re talking about.

Keep in mind that it’s not possible to cover up the bad smell developed on the insoles. When dirt, sweat, skin, and everything else combined, unpleasant odors’ risk is significant.

How should you de-odorize the hiking boots?

Once you know what you have to do, it’s not difficult to get rid of the horrid smell inside your boots. It’s about addressing the nasty odor, and not about disguising it. The enzyme-based odor eliminator provides the most effortless method to eliminate bad small.

What is the enzyme-based odor eliminator?

Sweat, mildew, and less pleasant smells may easily affect your hiking boots. Using the odor eliminators will allow you to control the bad smell before the situation aggravates.

The odor eliminators don’t solve the problem by masking the smells, but they utilize enzymes (activated by water) to remove/kill the bacteria, causing the odor ultimately. You add the odor eliminator into several gallons of water, allowing the footwear to soak.

Deodorize the hiking boots

How to use the odor eliminator?

The quality of odor eliminators is very different, so that the results may vary a lot. Many of these products will mask the bad smell, so you’ll have a combination of cool-breeze air and sweat. Make sure you ask around, read the reviews, and try several products until you get the best results.

Once you got yourself an odor –eliminator, here are the steps you should follow:

1.       Look for a large plastic container.

You will need to place your boots in a plastic container, so look for one that allows you to submerge the footwear in the odor-eliminator entirely.

2.       Pour in the odor eliminator.

Use a measuring cup and add water accordingly to the instruction. 2 gallons of water will be sufficient with your hiking boots.

3.       Add water

Your container has to be filled with water, but only deep enough to dip the footwear. It would help if you made sure that the boots are entirely saturated with the water solution.

You may use the solution with other smelly gear. Once you’re done with the boots, you should place them to dry.

4.       Allow your boots to dry.

After taking the boots out of the water, you have to eliminate the excess water and allow the shoes to dry. A boot dryer or aiming a fan inside the shoes may speed up the process. Your boots’ materials depend a lot, as you shouldn’t speed up the drying of leather, for instance.

What’s the natural fix for bad smells?

If you’re not interested in over-the-counter products for eliminating odors, some baking soda will be handy. You only need to sprinkle several teaspoons of baking soda and allow it to sit throughout the night. Twenty-four hours later, you should remove it with your vacuum cleaner.

After the baking soda trick, see if the bad smell is gone or not. You may also use some de-odorizing balls for a fresh scent.

Have you tried the vinegar spray?

If none of the previous methods hasn’t been useful for your boots, you may also try to make a vinegar mixture.  Here’s how to do it:

1.       Add equal parts of vinegar and water.

Keep in mind that just some of this solution will go a long way, so don’t overdo it. If you do, it’s fine as you may use the spray for killing bacteria on your car, bed, carpet, and so on.

2.       Pour the solution

Pour the solution into a water bottle, and mix it very well.

3.       Use the solution

You may now spray the vinegar solution right into the footwear, but allowing it to sit throughout the night. Don’t use the spray on the outside of the boots, as you may ruin the color.

Is it tricky to decrease the risk of nasty smell in your boots?

Even if your boots are breathable, they may still present a risk for developing a foul odor. You can always prevent further bacteria buildup by merely eliminating the risk of moisture. Our tips will come in handy sooner or later:

Your footwear has to remain dry throughout your hike

You should see that moisture doesn’t get inside the boots. Always put on good socks that are breathable and warm. Your footwear should also be waterproof, or you should waterproof them accordingly.

Always have clean feet.

It’s not effortless to keep your feet clean while hiking, especially if you’re running on muddy trails. If you’re on backpacking trips, washing the feet won’t be possible either. Therefore, you should at least replace the socks as often as you can.

Use moisture-wicking socks

The hiking socks are essential for the best comfort and fit and for controlling moisture and smell. Pay the extra buck and get hiking socks that wick away moisture, both in the summer and winter.

Mask the smell, if possible

If you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time to get rid of the smell completely, you may cover the smell. Covering the smell only buys you some time and doesn’t work for a long time.

Switch your boots

If you’re going on a multi-day trip, it’s better that you rotate your footwear between day hikes. Allow your boots to sit for 24 hours while using a de-odorizing ball too.

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