Wet shoes smell....

New to kayaking. Quick question.

I hose off my kayak and wet shoes everyday after

I use them. However, my wet shoes have begun to

smell really bad (like vomit). How do I avoid

this? Obviously just hosing them off isn’t doing

the trick, should I shoot them with some Febreeze?

Or Lysol? what do you guys think?

(NOTE: My feet aren’t smelly…I think it is the

lake water)

Sure, blame it on the lake!
Common problem. What works for me is a bucket full of clean water and a cup of baking soda. Soak the shoes in the bucket for a few hours. Add your favorite fragrance if you want.


Lotta bacteria in fresh water.
Light liner socks will help reduce the bacterial presence and a good thorough rinse with chlorinated water after the paddle will go a long way toward avoiding this issue.

humans & neoprene (if they’re neoprene)
don’t mix. Get “Sink the Stink” at a dive shop and wash with that.

Water shoes are designed to stink…
… so that you will be back to buy new ones after a very short time. The shoe makers are aware that many hard-core paddlers have ways of keeping the severity of the stink down to a tolerable level, so as a backup plan, the shoes are designed to start falling apart after about one season of use. It seems like all the shoe makers are in on this scheme, so there’s not much you can do to fight it.

Simple cheap solution…
soak them for an hour in a solution of water and white vinegar… (which is CHEAP)

About a half cup per gallon of water…

The difference in ph will kill the bacteria… rinse in fresh water when done.

Same effect as the commercial products at a 50th of the price.

Use the sun
After the vinegar trick ( which works ) set them in the sun to dry. Although U.V. rays do slowly damage the shoe , they do kill bacteria.

make a big fire and throw them in…

or use Sink the Stink.

Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap
The kind in that odd flip top dispenser bottle with all the zealot writings on the label. Concentrated, so use a capful to a bucket of water-soak those puppies for about half an hour, then lay them in the sun to dry. Minty fresh (somewhat). It’ll leave a mild white residue if you use a lot, but the stink is far, far more reduced. Available at health food/organic stores.

Don’t do a thing to them
leave one in your boat and the other in your car.

They make a great theft deteerent!



Always wear…

…a pair of those thin half sock things like the bikers

wear. They are synthetic. And use white vinegar to soak


Mostly we ignore it and never notice it. When my wife

complains about the stench, I merely reply, “The women

I paddle with think it’s a pheromone.”

White vinegar is a useful cleaning agent in the household but particularly useful for removing stink from paddling shoes. Few other things that were mentioned that are very helpful is to wear a pair of microfiber or wool socks - they are then removed with the bacteria from your feet and WASHED between uses.

Another important point to keep neo from getting smelly is to make sure it dries between uses. A good place to dry is in your car with the windows cracked a bit to let out the humidity. Put them on the seat or somewhere the air will circulate around them. When I store my gear in the car this way, nothing smells if it dries, just if you leave it wet for a week!

It is much easier to keep shoes from smelling and much harder to get rid of it once it starts.


Bucket of water and…
a couple table spoons of bleach. Sodium hypoclorite (bleach) kills anything that can cause your shoes to stink. No more than a tablespoon of two though or you’ll bleach your shoes.

white neoprene

Liners and…
I use wool half socks. But I also put them on the boot dryer when I get home. I have one of those PEET dryers. Can’t believe no one mentioned this. The booties are dry, clean smelling and ready to put back on in less than an hour.


smelly footwear
I’ve found the most important step is to put about a cup of water in them, slosh it around, pour it out and then repeat a second time. Next step is to dry them in sun or hang them in a place where they can dry quickly.

Smell comes mostly from skin shed from feet. Double rinsing removes most of it. Maybe one time a year I forget and then when faced with that foul smell I wash them in McNett Wet Suit and Dry Suit Shampoo.


After washing, stuff them with
newspaper for an hour,remove,and put them in the sun. Really helps dry them quickly.

Hosing off is not enough
I wash mine in soapy water, then douse them in a water/rubbing alcohol mix, then plain rinse. They go out on the 2nd floor porch to dry in the bright, dry, sunny Colorado air. The UV seems to kill off whatever the soap and alcohol did not.

If the water is really, really clean (Shoshone or Yellowstone Lake), a simple rinse and sun-dry are good enough.

great idea!
p.net pays dividends again!