26 answers

Stinky Feet ... Stinky Sandals

My two year old has been wearing sandals all summer and I've started to notice that his sandals now absolutely reek and so do his feet. I'm guessing it's just because when he runs around his feet sweat in his sandals and there is no fabric like a sock to absorb it. So I guess my question is two fold... One- Is it normal for them to get so smelly or is there some problem I need to look into. Two- How do I get the stink out of the shoes, soap works on his feet in the bathtub.

What can I do next?

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First of all are his sandels leather. I can not wear Leather. The Docotors said that my feet react to the leather and make my feet stink. I dont know why but o boy do they eek.

Hi L.,

I use a vinegar/water combination as a disinfectant on just about everything - bathtoys, sandals, car seats. It is really effective and won't leave any residue that will irritate skin.
I think you use 4 capfuls of white vinegar in a spray bottle
and fill the rest with water. I first saw it in Martha Stewart's baby magazine - she recommended it highly to remove that slimy layer that accumulates on kid's bath toys after a few baths. :)

It is totally normal for kids to get really stinky feet in their sandals. My friend sprays lysol all over the inside of the sandals and lets them dry. She says it works fabulously well. I haven't tried it yet, but it makes sense to me since the smell is caused by bacteria.

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It's normal to stink.
And here's a trick I learned in Brazil. Soak them in vinegar! It totally works. You wouldn't think vinegar is a deodorizer, but it is. I told my sister, and she even used it on her dog when it got sprayed by a skunk. That was a regular occurrence, and enough tomato juice for a yellow lab was getting expensive. Not to mention that it turned her pink for a few days! But the vinegar worked, and it's cheap.
Just use plain old white vinegar. Stick the sandals in a bucket and fill it enough cover them with about half water, half vinegar. Let them soak for an hour or longer, rinse, and let them air dry. The vinegar smell ought to disappear by the time it's dry.
By the way, it also works for stinky watchbands (take the watchband off the watch first).

My husband has problems with stinky sandals (which he loves to wear). He's had to experiment with which brands don't smell. He's found that Reef sandals work well - they are nice sandals but expensive.

vinegar works wonders!

Natural food stores sell natural deodorants made of mineral salts. Get one that's a spray on formula and spray the shoes with it. It works for a few days, maybe a week. You can also spray your kids' feet before they put the shoes on.... Good luck!

I have a two year old daughter and she has the same problem, I think its pretty normal. If you get any good advice about the shoes, pass it along! :)

Our 2 year old's feet are awful!! I just scrub them at the end of the day at bathtime and run the sandals through the washer occasionaly. I don't think there is any way to avoid it - they're sweaty and dirty all day! Nobody likes to be the one sitting next to him when his shoes come off...especially at meal time!! :) Hang in there - sandal season is quickly disappearing!! :(

It's weird, because my daughter wore sandals all the time when she was 2, and now that my sons (twins) are two, they do too. But my daughter NEVER had the same stinky feet issue as my sons do. For mine, it depends on the shoe. If they're plastic or rubber material (non-breathable) they stink. they have a pair of cowboy boots each that are absolutely awful because they put them on by themselves without socks. I've washed them a few times, and even run them through the washing machine once or twice. It helps for a while until they get all dirty again. It's actually much easier to wash sandals in the washer than boots, though. And it really does help. Good luck. I think the stinky feet part is just a part of being a boy! (or a toddler... they tend to walk in whatever's on the ground!)

Yep, we have a stinky boy feet too. We decided to switch to croc's because they are anti bacterial and waa laa no stink. Plus he can get them on and off very easily... they do make brown, dark blue and black for boys.

I wuld suggest to alternate shoes everyday. Sandals one day and something else the next!! Let the shoes air out in the sun after you put them in a bag of some sort with baking soda and shake. This should help or you could throw the sandals in the bath with him to wash them. Boys do just naturally stink. Good luk ** god bless**

Buy only leather shows. Also the soles that are rubber or plastic in sandals make them stick. sandals stink if they get wet. so get wet still like those neoprine type. Otherwise if this is an on going stinky feet issue as he grows up, my sister had that and used these little absorber balls you put in the shoe when you are done. Also she had to store her shoes in the garage near the door. that helped them air out without stinking up the house.

We have one son who cannot wear shoes again unless they have had two days to air out. Once we started the three day rotation, the smell quit. I'll try some of the suggestion on here, but I have not to date found anything that removes the smell once it starts. I have only been successful in preventing. My understanding is the smell is due to bacteria from the shoes never completely drying. I don't remember where I read that, but since it sticks in my mind, I must have trusted the source at the time I was researching this. GL! I know it's a bear to deal with!

It is totally normal for kids to get really stinky feet in their sandals. My friend sprays lysol all over the inside of the sandals and lets them dry. She says it works fabulously well. I haven't tried it yet, but it makes sense to me since the smell is caused by bacteria.

My boys are the stinkiest creatures on the planet! My youngest especially has funky feet. I wash him normally, but I've thrown every kind of shoe imaginable into a lingerie bag & into the washer-try some baking soda in the load to cut down the smell.
And if he keeps his stinky feet-he's a boy, chances are high-try soaking them in tea. My stepson has NASTY feet & his mom soaked them in a gallon or two of tea, steeped normally, just regular Lipton or something. It worked.

i bought some cheap payless slipons to wear this summer during my pregnancy and they stink too. but my feet don't stink on sundays when i wear different shoes to church. i'm not wearing socks or nylons at all. so i'm convinced that it is the material that my every day shoes are made of which stinks. i've tried washing the shoes, putting febreeze on them, spraying them with perfume, it doesn't matter. they are just stinky shoes. so i just wash my feet after wearing them because i don't want to buy another pair. but i probably could save myself some torture from the smell if i'd just go buy a different pair of shoes.

There is nothing you can do if it is fake leather or leather in the soles, even canvas can start stinking. If it has gotten moist or wet, you have to just trash them.
This happens to my kids every summer! :)
Try buying sandals that have plastic or water proof soles in them. Even things like crocs are much better in summer due to being easy to clean and don't ever hold odor in.

Scrub the sandals with soap and water, and then spray the heck out of them with lysol.

yes it's normal and baking soda.

Put the shoes in the freezer overnight and the smell will go away. I usually put in a plastic bag first...I don't want shoes near my food. I have the same problem with my boys and put the shoes in the freezer every couple of weeks.

In my experience this is very normal and I don't think you can get it out of the shoes! i am anxious to see if anyone has great suggestions as I face this every summer!!

Hi L.,

I use a vinegar/water combination as a disinfectant on just about everything - bathtoys, sandals, car seats. It is really effective and won't leave any residue that will irritate skin.
I think you use 4 capfuls of white vinegar in a spray bottle
and fill the rest with water. I first saw it in Martha Stewart's baby magazine - she recommended it highly to remove that slimy layer that accumulates on kid's bath toys after a few baths. :)

Dear L.,

I would say that it is time to buy that boy some new sandals or some flip flops. As for the sinky feet use some baking powder after you soak his feet in some apple cider vinegar mixed with water. You might want to use a nail brush or let him soak in the tub with some baking soda and allow him to play with some soap with the back brush etc.

We call my 5 year old daughter "Princess Stinky Toes" - if her feet can't "breathe", we have the same problem as you! I just got her a different pair of shoes and got a nail brush for her toes!! It's completely normal and it depends on the type of material the shoes are made of.

I have the same problem with my 2 year old. He has worn Keens and Strideright Sandals, both with the smelly foot problem. If you really want to get the smell out, here's what i've done (might sound a bit strange, but bear with me): There's a product at Petsmart (yes, petsmart), called Petzyme. It's to remove stains and odors caused by cat spray, etc. Scrub the soles of the sandals with this product, thoroughly. Rinse and dry. Put the sandals in a ziplock bag and put them in the freezer overnight. In 24 hours, the bacteria causing the stink should be gone. From here on, let the shoes dry out completely between wearing (lay them in the sun, or something). This may mean a second pair of sandals. We've come to realize our son can not "live" in his sandals over the summer, and we do have to rotate shoes. Otherwise, they are just a breading ground for smelly bacteria.

hope that helps.

Oh this is so funny! My 2-yr old has the same problems with only one pair of sandals. I don't think I've experienced it with leather before....but, yeah, a baking soda or vinegar soak does help :)

First of all are his sandels leather. I can not wear Leather. The Docotors said that my feet react to the leather and make my feet stink. I dont know why but o boy do they eek.

Normal - I'm guessing the sandals are man made material? Try leather sandals, your son's feet will not sweat as badly because leather is actually more porous and his skin can "breathe". When my daughter was little I had exactly the same problem. I switched to leather sandals and shoes & we got rid of the stinky feet problem for good.
~Abuelita Ramos

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