Smelly flats

12:09 am - 04/01/2008
So for two posts in one day! I'm a mess lately.

I have this pair of ballet flats, and I adore them. I wear them almost every day. (I hate wearing sneakers, and it's too cold for flippies still, so these are pretty much my go-to shoes in the spring.) HOWEVER. I stepped in a puddle in them earlier, and while they held up fine in the water (since they are made with man-made materials), I've noticed that they smell undeniably like FEET now, whereas before they didn't so much. So my question is, how should I go about de-smellerizing them? Febreeze? Baking soda on the insoles? (I don't have any foot powder, but the earliest I'd be able to pick some up is this weekend and I'd kind of like to get this taken care of before it gets WORSE and you can smell my feet while the shoes are still on!)

Thanks y'all!

(xposted, sorry)
petal_abstract 1st-Apr-2008 05:33 am (UTC)
Odor Eater's foot powder work miracles! Sprinkle a good amount all over the inside of the shoe and let them rest in a sense for a few days. Then every time you wear them sprinkle the powder into the shoes. Also wear ankle high or knee high nylons to help absorb the moisture.

I hope this helps :D!
nooch 1st-Apr-2008 05:36 am (UTC)
I have some of those teeny tiny socks that i wear in ballet flatesque shoes. its works heaps on not getting smelly feet. try walmart or target for them.
mamboitaliano24 1st-Apr-2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
What brand are the socks you are talking about? The other day I bought "no-show" socks from Target and they really, really show.
heysmilepretty 1st-Apr-2008 05:51 pm (UTC)
So have all the ones I've ever tried. D:
skincare_expert 1st-Apr-2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
Me too...but if you buy them in the same color, it doesn't look that bad. I figure it's better than permastink!
gwennaelle 1st-Apr-2008 06:47 am (UTC)
Do you have any Lysol spray? I had a pair of flats that reeked for so long, but then I doused the insoles with Lysol, and the next day they were fine.

I also have been told that sticking shoes in the freezer for a few days helps too, but I've never tried this.
b0oger 1st-Apr-2008 07:15 am (UTC)
Nothing helpful, but I have ones the same, but made out of this really awesome Satin-y stuff. I've worn them everyday for around 3 months now and they are still in perfect condition!! :D I love them.
heysmilepretty 1st-Apr-2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
Haha hooray! I'd been looking for a simple pair of black ballet flats without ruffles or ribbons or bows or sparkles on the front for FOREVER. So happy I finally found some :)
skincare_expert 1st-Apr-2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
From payless? Really?
vorona (in my opinion...)1st-Apr-2008 09:07 am (UTC)
The most important thing about shoes is: do not wear the same pair, no matter how much you love them, every day. These shoes need a big rest.

Puddle or no puddle, any shoes which are worn every day, or even every other day, will likely breed unmitigated bacteria and will likely smell bad. Parts of the shoe will rot, for real, whether they are leather, canvas, or some kind of man-made composition. Above all, shoes need to be rotated, because most people's feet perspire a LOT more than we realize, and bacteria grow in this. Every other day is pushing it, even. People need to rotate at least three pairs of shoes, in my opinion.

If you have a favorite go-to pair, do whatever it takes, economize elsewhere, and get duplicates. This is one of those high priorities.

As for these shoes, let them dry thoroughly first. Unfortunately, there is a strong chance that they are doomed, if the man-made material has picked up enough odor from the combination of perspiration, bacteria, and mud puddle water. Certain man-made materials manage to hold on to, and somehow change and magnify, horrendous organic smells far more than natural materials do. Rubber and rubber-like compositions can be phenomenally awful about this. I remember the sad case of a friend's glamorous rubberized crushed velvet pants in the 70s, which had absorbed some body odors and then had somehow gotten much worse when she washed them with detergent and baking soda. Those pants were a nightmare, and she had no choice but to discard them. And I have had to throw away rubber-soled sandals that had some weird reaction to feet-smell, myself. Man-made materials may be "waterproof" but they are not odor-proof.

Here's what I'd do. I'd expose the insoles to ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT. Sunlight, if you have it, a sunlamp in small doses, or one of those artificial-nail-curing ultraviolet lights, or one of those UV lights which sanitize tools, brushes and combs. Do you know anyone who has access to one of these? Ultraviolet light is an excellent chemical-free germkiller. Just watch the temperature, do not heat the shoes. And keep it away from your eyes, of course.

Then I might sprinkle some ground cinnamon in the shoes, if there were any trace of odor left. Don't do this if your skin is sensitive to cinnamon - I'd test, first. And although ground cinnamon is fairly mild (friends use it to repel mosquitoes) the oil can dissolve plastics, so I'd keep it off the shoes' uppers. But I have gotten rid of some bad odors using ground cinnamon.

Another great, natural deodorant is activated charcoal. The dust can be sooty, so this may not be for you, but if you can handle incidental shmutz, muslin bags (or old socks!) filled with activated charcoal and stuffed into the shoes may absorb odor brilliantly. I'd try it, myself.

This post has been brought to you by six years of experience dancing for a living, and well over a decade around punk-rock culture and lifestyle. Dancing shoes, boots, favorite shoes, ANY shoes used every day, day in and day out, are doomed to major smells and funk. They can even harm the health of the wearer's feet, breeding scary, badly resistant bacterial and fungal infections in toenails and skin. I've seen it. I've smelled it. "Favorite shoes" can be unexpectedly mortifying, and can cause foot problems for years. Whatever it takes, rotate your shoes and let them rest.

Ulp. This reply probably sounds SO obnoxious. I realize I probably sound like the worst know-it-all, trying to mother you and lecture you. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for how it sounds, especially coming from a random person on the Internet. All I can say is that this is EXACTLY what I would tell a good, close friend who presented this exact problem. I'd like to save you some of the grief and horror that I've seen and experienced with similar shoes and smells, because it would have been nice if someone had warned us, back then. Rotate, rotate, rotate. I wish you the best of luck with this... those do seem like very special shoes.
heysmilepretty Re: (in my opinion...)1st-Apr-2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
Lol no way! This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so much for your suggestions :)
skincare_expert Re: (in my opinion...)1st-Apr-2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
Hey, nobody ever told me that! I always thought it made sense to buy a few pairs of shoes at once instead of just waiting until your "favorite pair" had been worn too many times and had to be thrown away. Now I have an actual reason. Thanks!
vorona (regarding Lysol... once again, it's merely my opinion, FWIW)1st-Apr-2008 09:08 am (UTC)
(I would absolutely NOT use Lysol or anything similar. Feet absorb chemicals easily, and Lysol is some NASTY stuff. NO pair of shoes is worth exposing your system to those chemicals: Lysol is NOT safe for skin contact - and what you spray in your shoes will contact your skin as soon as your feet sweat. I personally would not have Lysol in the house, because I consider it neurotoxic and carcinogenic - but even if I did use it around the toilet or something, I would NEVER use it in my shoes. Ever. Put your health first, always.)
seductivenerd 1st-Apr-2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
Got any dryer sheets? Let them sit in your shoes.
crazeazz 1st-Apr-2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
What you should do is put your shoes in a ziplock bag and then place them in the freezer for a day. That should kill any germs that might be causing the odor. Then I'm sure some febreeze or like you said, baking soda will help with removing the remaining scent.
caliginous 1st-Apr-2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
I make a spray of rubbing alcohol, a little water, and tea tree oil with peppermint essential oil. Spritz that in shoes after you wear them to kill bacteria and make them minty. It can correct the problem with shoes that already smell, but it takes quite a bit. Be really careful you don't inhale the mist or get it in your eyes. won't kill you, but really far from pleasant.

UV light if you can get one is, as voronoa said, a great bacteria killer as well. You do need to let shoes air out between wearings too. White vinegar spritzes can help remove odor in some instances, wether it will help with these I don't know.

You can also help by starting at the source. Get a rock crystal deoderant spray, and mist it on your feet before you wear your shoes. It's not an anti-prespirant, just a natural deoderant that helps kill bacteria. Spritz on, let dry, and put your shoes on. Won't help for shoes that are already stinky, but can help extend the life of a new pair.
magpieintx 1st-Apr-2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
Put black tea bags in the shoes and leave it for at least 24 hours.
skincare_expert 1st-Apr-2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
What does black tea do?
heysmilepretty 1st-Apr-2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
Stain your insoles? That's all I could gather lol
magpieintx 1st-Apr-2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
The black tea absorbs the odor. It works well.
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