We launder just about everything we wear — except for one of the most frequently-used items in the closet: our shoes! There’s no truly easy way to clean footwear without ruining the material, so many people opt for removable odor-eating insoles to combat smelly shoes. There are generally five different types to choose from…
1. Cedar Insoles
High-quality cedarwood insoles like The Zederna Insole from Germany naturally absorb odor. The absorptive properties of cedar have long been studied, which is why it’s often used in animal litter and recommended as a way to get musty smells out of closets.
Not everyone likes the woodsy smell of cedar, but if you don’t mind it, these insoles can be a good alternative to chemical sprays or heavy powders. One thing we are not sure about are the dubious claims that “the new formation of athlete’s foot and nail fungus is permanently prevented” with these insoles. As far as we know, there is no science to back that up.
2. Biocide Insoles
Biocide insoles like Cidetex are comprised of sheep’s wool soaked in iodine and a patented biocide formula that promises to “destroy bacteria, viruses, fungus and yeasts.” Developed in the Czech Republic by a third-generation shoemaker, these insoles were made with athletes, diabetics, and workers in mind. Again, we don’t see any scientific studies proving their efficacy, so we can’t speak to their credibility. Lack of published data seems to be a big problem in this industry!
3. Silver Lining Insoles
Silver Linings By Chu Shu New York are made of a thin, soft fabric that has been treated with silver ions to remove odor-causing bacteria. The technology “suffocates, starves and sterilizes” bacteria, according to the manufacturer website. The downside is that one pair is only good for about 10-15 uses. You can get a 5-pack for $16, but that’s still at least $78 per year — assuming that a “use” constitutes as the entire day. There are also some groups that feel nanosilver ions are not entirely safe in consumer products that come into direct contact with the skin.
4. Activated Charcoal Insoles
Popular products like Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X and Odor-Eaters insoles use activated charcoal (and often baking soda) to absorb sweat and neutralize odors. Activated charcoal is the active ingredient in many air fresheners and home cleaning products. There is a type of medicinal activated charcoal that you can ingest to rid the body of toxins. While these insoles sound like a good alternative to damp, smelly feet, one does have to wonder: where does all that sweat go? If the insole absorbs sweat, then over time, it will just become a repository for sweat and bacteria, which doesn’t sound very appealing.
5. Aromatherapy Insoles
Aromatherapy insoles like Foot Petals Killer Kushionz are designed to add padding to dress shoes, while also deodorizing the feet with essential oils like lavender. One competing brand is scented with tea tree oil, but does not have a good review on Amazon. Generally, the essential oils only serve to mask the real problem — which is sweat and bacteria. This may be find for feet that do not have a serious odor problem, but it seems these insoles are primarily used for the added cushioning.
Another Option To Consider:
We know we just said “there’s no easy way to clean footwear,” but there is one clinically-proven way to eliminate odor-causing bacteria and fungus in your shoes. The SteriShoe UV light shoe sanitizer kills up to 99.9% of the microbes harbored in your shoes in just one 45-minute cycle. We’re happy to point you to the scientific clinical research that proves the efficacy of our product. You can use this device in conjunction with any type of insole you buy or even in place of insoles if your feet are not terribly smelly.