Smelly Dance Shoes? How to Keep Your Dance Shoes Odor-Free

Posted by Tina Lee-Almazar on

Smelly Dance Shoes? How to Keep Your Dance Shoes Odor-Free

 Photo Credit: The Solemates

It’s one thing to keep your favorite pair of dancing shoes pristine before and after storage but how do you deal with the smell? 

What Makes Dance Shoes Smelly?

It’s all about bacterial growth, unfortunately. When you’re dancing, the feet sweat, and the feet sweat a lot, surprisingly! That’s because there are about 250,000 sweat glands in the feet. On a normal day, you'll sweat about half a pint in a day. Now imagine if you've been dancing a lot in a single social dance event, you’ll get sweat feet for sure!

Because moisture gets trapped in the material, bacteria start breeding in your shoes. The bacteria end up multiplying because of the damp, dank environment, and eventually, the shoes start to reek.

The odor could go away when you’ve been religiously cleaning and deep-cleaning your shoes. Also, you need to air out your shoes if they’ve been stored for a long time to reduce the odor and avoid the risk of mold growth. 

How to Eliminate Bad Shoe Odors

To eliminate shoe odors, you need to address the root cause of the problem: bacterial growth. There are loads of solutions for removing bad shoe odors. If you want to go the all-natural route, here are our recommendations:

Choose the Right Material

Some materials are prone to developing bad smells like genuine leather. Organic materials like leather tends to absorb more moisture and if you're not cleaning your Bachata dance shoes properly, it will turn into a cesspool of bacteria real soon!

Thankfully, our comfortable dance shoes are made with microfiber materials. Microfiber is more resistant to moisture. The material won't absorb moisture like genuine suede. Also, microfiber is very easy to clean! Just air your Yami dance shoes out and they're ready for the next social dance.

Proper Storage

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

Storing your Zouk dance shoes is essential in eliminating odors. Ideally, you want to store your shoes in a spot with excellent ventilation to let the materials breathe. We do not recommend storing your Latin dance shoes in a box because the material might degrade from the accumulated moisture. Yami dance shoes come with their own dust bags. Our shoe bags are made from breathable mesh material that lets air circulated, keeping your shoes dry and fresh-smelling even during long storage! The shoe bag also protects your comfy dance shoes from dust!

Keep Your Feet Clean and Dry

Photo Credit: In Life Healthcare

Don’t wear your favorite dance shoes if your feet aren’t clean because you’ll be ruining them with bad odors pretty soon! Keeping your feet clean and dry is essential in minimizing bad odors. 

Before wearing your shoes, wash your feet thoroughly with soap and water. Then, dry your feet thoroughly before putting them on - especially the area in between your toes. If your feet are very sweaty, we highly suggest soaking them in a hot bath with Epsom salt. Epsom salt keeps the feet fresh-smelling while also soothing tired, achy muscles!

Better Ventilation

To prevent bacterial growth, be selective about the shoe materials. Thankfully, our Yami dance shoes are made with breathable yet durable materials so they are very resistant to bad smells. It helps that the open-toe design ensures optimal air circulation, inhibiting mold, and bacterial growth!

On the other hand, if you’re using closed shoes, you have to air these out before and after use. We also suggest wearing shoes with perforated uppers if your feet are extra sweaty to keep them dry as you dance the night away. We have a collection of Latin dance shoes with laser-cut details, these are perfect for anyone with sweaty feet.

Let the Shoes Rest


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No matter how much you LOVE your favorite shoes, you have to give them a rest regularly to inhibit bacterial growth. Ideally, you have to air out your shoes for at least 24 hours after wearing them. Airing out the shoes help eliminate sweat that bacteria loves. Bacteria will die when they’re deprived of moisture.

A Sprinkle of Baking Soda

Photo Credit: Gettin' By

If the smell is so bad that airing out your shoes doesn’t cut it anymore, try sprinkling baking soda into your shoes. This will keep those nasty germs away! Baking soda is a natural germ killer and deodorizer. A couple of teaspoons of baking soda in your shoes overnight should eliminate bad odors. You can also apply baking soda all over your feet, along with some deodorant to keep your feet smelling fresh. 

A Spritz of Vinegar

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A terrific alternative to baking soda is vinegar. Vinegar is an effective germ killer and deodorizer. Since vinegar is acidic, you have to dilute the solution in water. We suggest combining equal parts water and vinegar in a spritz bottle. Give it a good shake and then spray on the insides of the shoes. Spritz away but not too much that the shoes become sopping wet! Leave the shoes to air dry.

One thing though, since vinegar is quite acidic, it may cause discoloration on some shoes. Avoid spraying the solution all over the uppers, you might ruin a good pair of Kizomba dance shoes!

Potpourri? 

Photo Credit: House Tipster

Dried flowers and peels should be enough to mask mild odors. Citrus peels, a bag of dried lavender, or herbs with a few drops of fresh-smelling essential oils should be enough to keep your favorite Zouk dancing shoes smelling good for longer. You can make your own potpourri using empty tea bags, just fill the bag with dried herbs and flowers. Insert the tea bag inside the toe area then let sit overnight. 

Bad shoe odors are normal especially for us folks who are addicted to social dances! But to keep your favorite Bachata dance shoes smelling fresh, try any of these tips. Not only are you eliminating bad odors, you could also extend the life of your favorite Latin dance shoes. 

Sweat could distort the shape of the shoes and in extreme cases, weaken the material or stitching of the shoes. By keeping your favorite Bachata dance shoes dry, you can use the dancing shoes for a much longer time.