So let’s start with the obvious.. we have all experienced it, the horrible stench of smelly soccer cleats that have been stuck in a bag for a week. But how to take care of your football boots properly and prevent them from a bad smell?

Football cleats are very important to a football player. You want them to fit well. You want them to work great as you slice and dice through the field. You want them to help you reach your potential as a player. You have to respect the fact that despite what you may have paid for the shoes (anywhere from 80€ – 300€) they won’t last more than a short season if you don’t take care of them. Even the most expensive cleats will fall apart if you treat them poorly. Think of it like an expensive sports car… just because you paid a lot of money for it, doesn’t mean it will run forever without taking great care of it. So, what is the solution to stopping your cleats from getting smelly?

First off, I never encourage anyone to leave their cleats in a boot bag. After a game, the best thing you can do is stuff them with some newspaper and leave them outside to fresh air. Not in direct sunlight, as this process would just overdry the material. Just leave them outside in a shady area. Doing this will make a huge difference! To get the most out of your cleats, they need to be treated properly. The best thing to do, is see them as an investment! If you can keep them dry, smell should not be an issue unless you are not washing your socks. My best advice is to get into a routine of leaving them outside after practice or games. Here are some other good tips:

Humidity and warmth in the shoes is what causes the bacteria that create the odor.

Stinky shoes and/or smelly feet can be not only annoying, but a source of embarrassment as well. The proper term for smelly feet is Bromhidrosis (smell of bacteria growing on the body) or Hyperhidrosis (abnormally increased perspiration). It is an unfortunate part of an active lifestyle, as even the smallest bit of sweat can create a pair of smelly shoes.


  • Clean your cleats, and air dry them after every practice and game, it helps to keep your boots in top condition! Although cleaning the shoes regularly will kill the bacteria, and washing the foot prevents them from growing
  • Use Special Leather Oil or Proof&Care for preventing from bacteria that creates odor!
  • Keep Bounce sheets in your bag!  This is something I advise 100% of the time. After a session, you can place a Bounce Sheet inside your cleats or bag. Even though it doesn’t fully remove the smell, it still helps!
  • Use some Lysol, which helps neutralize odor by killing bacteria. It doesn’t solve the problem by 100%, but it can be a temporary solution.
  • Other steps to help prevent stinky shoes include; washing your feet with an antibacterial soap, by wearing clean leather shoes, cotton socks, and/or use a good quality foot spray at night.

How to take care of football boots?

There are also some ways to prevent or remove the bad smell from your boots with household means:

  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda into each shoe, shake well to ensure the powder penetrates down to the toe and all over the inside of the shoe, and leave overnight.
  • Place a sheet of dryer fabric softener into your shoes after wearing. A sheet will last for about a week.
  • Place the shoes in a zipper-lock plastic bag and put them in the freezer overnight. The freezing temperatures will kill most of the odor causing bacteria.
  • Break some charcoal into small pieces and place inside an old pair of tights, put them into a pair of smelly shoes or boots overnight.
  • Dry your shoes by putting them near a heater or in a warm sunny spot. Take out the shoe laces and lift the tongue up and out to dry the shoes out faster. By keeping your shoes dry, you help prevent bacterial growth that causes the bad odor.
  • Salt has been reported as being effective in canceling out moisture which causes the bacteria in shoes to smell bad. Apply 2 teaspoons of salt into each shoe and they will smell better in a couple of hours.
  • Try sprinkling some baking soda in the shoes and let the powder absorb the odor overnight. Empty the powder before putting the shoes back on.