How to Take the Funk Out of Smelly Running Shoes and Clothes


Contrary to what many people think, sweat doesn’t smell. It’s bacteria interacting with the sweat that causes odor on your running gear. It’s the same bacteria that causes body odor.

If not addressed properly, it can lead to (cue Jaws music) “Permastink” – a lingering funk that builds up over time and does not go away.

Who doesn’t love a runner who looks and smells ‘mabango’ even after a marathon? Keep your running gear smelling fresh with these tips.


  1. Ziplock your shoes and put them in the freezer – odor-causing bacteria do not thrive in cold temperatures.
  2. Bacteria love damp surfaces. Keep your shoes dry by stuffing them with newspaper after a run.
  3. Sprinkle one half to a whole tablespoon of baking soda inside each shoe and leave them overnight.
  4. Keep your feet dry by rubbing on some medicated foot powder. Wear socks that keep moisture away from your feet (anything but cotton ones, please).

Running Clothes

  1. Wash your running clothes as soon as possible. Now. Stat. Sweaty clothes left in the hamper is a happy place for bacteria. If you’re not doing your laundry anytime soon, hang the clothes to dry before tossing them in the basket.
  2. Acid neutralizes stinky odors. Soak your running clothes in a basin of cold water with a cup of white vinegar or lemon juice for 15 to 30 minutes before washing them.
  3. Just like with your running shoes, you can also use baking soda to freshen up your running clothes. Soak them in water and baking soda solution for 15 to 30 minutes before washing.
  4. Avoid the “amoy kulob” smell by hanging your clothes outside to naturally air dry after washing. Sunlight has amazing disinfectant properties, too.


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