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How To Stop Hiking Boots Smelling? | 8 Practical Methods

Hiking boots, like shoes, are prone to odor. And considering what you use them for and the elements you expose them to on the trail, they are even more susceptible to smell.

After a long day on the trail, do you perceive some odor when removing your hiking boots? We bet you can’t stand the smell, and it may keep smelling that way if you do nothing about it.

But first, what causes hiking boots to smell? The reason hiking boots smell vary, and it borders around how you use them and what you use them for.

Generally, hiking boots smell when you don’t take care of them properly. If you dump your hiking boots without cleaning, drying, or storing them properly after a hike, they are bound to smell.

Moisture from your feet and the environment is primarily responsible for the smell of hiking boots. In addition, your sweat and moisture from hiking terrain make them smell. And it worsens if fungi or bacteria start growing in them.

Other times, your boots will smell due to overuse or bad insoles. We could go on and on with the list, but the fact remains that hiking boots are susceptible to smelling after a hike.

When that happens, what do you do? Dumping or throwing your boots out is not the best choice. But the good thing is that there are solutions to stop hiking boots from smelling.

How do you do that? Let’s find out together in this article!

How To Stop Hiking Boots From Smelling?

smelly hiking boots

The best thing you can try to do is to prevent hiking boots from smelling in the first place. Then, if they don’t stink, you wouldn’t need to stop them from smelling.

For future reasons, you should know how you can prevent this situation from repeating itself, or at least minimize the smell. Therefore, you can prevent your hiking boots from smelling by keeping clean and dry feet while on the trail.

And this involves you wearing moisture-wicking socks on the trail. In addition, you can try rotating your hiking boots, especially when you are on a multiple-day hike.

Suppose you have more than one pair, good for you. But if the reverse is the case, you can take breaks while wearing your hiking boots. However, the most important thing is to take care of your hiking boots and ensure they are always clean and in good shape.

Now, let us get back to the situation on the ground: how to stop hiking boots from smelling. We have curated some easy methods you can try at home to get the smell out of your hiking boots.

We have listed them below:

Method 1: Clean hiking boots

Cleaning your hiking boots is an ideal thing to do. Whether they smell or not, you ought to clean your hiking boots regularly so that they can last longer and look good while wearing them.

This involves thoroughly cleaning your hiking boots inside and outside. Cleaning the inside of your hiking boots may seem like a difficult or time-consuming task, but for your safety and your hiking boots, you must do that.

clean hiking boots to prevent smelling

Steps to follow

  • Get your hiking boots ready

It is not so much work if you know what to do. First, you need to prep your hiking boots, which involves removing your insoles and laces.

  • Brush and clean the outside

After that, you brush the outside of your hiking boots and rinse them. If the exterior of your hiking boots is caked in mud or sand, you first need to brush that off so they don’t stick to your skin when cleaning.

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  • Submerge them in water

Then, you fill a container with warm water. You need to ensure that the container is large enough to house your hiking boots, or you can use your tub.

After that, you can add an odor remover to the water if you want. This helps eliminate the smell. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions on what amount to use. You can then submerge your hiking boots in the water when you are done with that.

  • Scrub the inside

When the boots are inside water, take a small soft brush that can work the corners of your hiking boots and scrub the inside. Make sure to thoroughly scrub the footbeds because they are more likely to harbor bacteria and mildew than any other part of your boots.

  • Rinse your hiking boots

Once you have cleaned the inside thoroughly, you can rinse your hiking boots with clean water.

The next thing to do is place your hiking boots in a warm place to dry. You can also dry them outside. However, ensure that they are completely dry before using them again.

  • Clean insoles and boot laces

Your hiking boots’ insoles contribute immensely to the foul smell in your boots, so you need to clean them the way you did your boots. Therefore, you also need to wash them in the cleaning solution you used for cleaning your shoes.

Scrub them thoroughly, rinse them with clean water, and leave them to dry. After that, you wash, rinse, and dry your boots’ laces.


  • It is effective in ridding your boots of bad smell.
  • Helps improve your hiking boots’ hygiene.
  • It is an inexpensive and easy method.


  • It can be time-consuming.

Method 2: Use hiking boots deodorizer

Another effective way to stop hiking boots from smelling is to use a deodorizer. There are deodorizers meant explicitly for cleaning outdoor gear like hiking boots.

Gear Aid ReviveX, for example, can help remove the smell from your hiking boots. It works well for different fabric types to get rid of the smell, irrespective of the kind of material your hiking boots are made of.

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You can use this product in different ways. For example, you can use it as a cleaning solution in water to submerge your hiking boots or put it in a spray bottle for quick use.

The spray is easier to use if you need to deodorize your boots before you go on a hike. So, how do you use it?

Steps to follow

  • Clean your hiking boots

Before using a deodorizer, you need to be sure that your boots are clean. Not only will it make the product more effective, but it is also suitable for your hiking boots’ health and shape.

If you aren’t in haste to use your hiking boots, you need to brush the inside and outside of your hiking boots. The cleaning process we discussed above will work well here to follow the steps.

Then, the product would be the odor remover you would add to the water. If you need to use your hiking boots soon, make sure you brush off the dirt and grime inside and outside of them without soaking them in water.

  • Mix deodorizer with water in the spray bottle

To use it as a spray, you need to mix it with water. Then, you should mix 2 oz of the deodorizer with 16 oz of water in the spray bottle.

  • Spray on your boots

After mixing the product with water, spray all your hiking boots inside and outside. Ensure it gets to the corners of your hiking boots because they smell more from the inside.

  • Leave to dry

Once you are done spraying with deodorizer, let the mixture dry in your hiking boots. Then you can wear your boots while hiking when they are totally dry.


  • Both the procedure and the product work well for de-stinking hiking boots.
  • The procedure is not complicated.
  • It does not require equipment or expertise.

Method 3: Sprinkle with baking soda

By using home remedies, you can also stop your hiking boots from smelling. This involves you using materials that are available in your home.

Right now, people use baking soda to clean equipment, which is one of the people’s popular choices. They remove stains and smells from equipment and different things.

Using baking soda to de-stink your hiking boots is relatively easy and inexpensive.

sprinkle baking soda in hiking boots to prevent smelling

Steps to follow

  • Clean your hiking boots

Your hiking boots will stay in good shape for a long time if you clean them regularly. So, before you use baking soda to de-stink them, you should clean them, but not necessarily something serious.

If they are clean already, then you do not have to bother. But if not so, then you should brush off any dirt that could be on your hiking boots.

  • Sprinkle the baking soda

Once your hiking boots are clean, you can then sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda on them. Let the baking soda stay in your hiking boots overnight and remove the smell. You may need to carry out this process multiple times to be effective.


  • This method does not cost much.
  • It is effective in de-stinking hiking boots.
  • It doesn’t require any expertise.


  • It can be temporary.
  • Baking soda can dry out hiking boots and make them brittle.

Method 4: Use disinfecting spray

You can also stop your hiking boots from smelling by using a disinfecting spray. This will help eliminate the odor and kill bacteria and fungi present in your hiking boots.

You can either buy a disinfecting spray or create your own homemade disinfecting solution using vinegar, alcohol, and essential oils.

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Steps to follow

  • Clean hiking boots

Before spraying your hiking boots with disinfectant, you need to ensure that they are in a clean state. So, you can brush off the dirt and wash them with warm and mild soap.

If you wash them, you have to leave them to dry before you spray them with disinfectant.

  • Spray hiking boots with disinfectant

After you are done cleaning your hiking boots, you need to spray them with disinfectant, either homemade or bought at the store. Make sure you are thorough with spraying and that it gets to all the corners of your hiking boots. This will help destroy fungi or bacteria in them.

  • Allow them to dry

When you’re finished spraying, make sure to let the disinfectant soak into the boots and let them dry completely before putting them on.


  • It’s extremely simple.
  • You have the advantage of using household items.
  • It is effective in fighting bacteria and fungi in hiking boots.
  • It rids hiking boots of odor.
  • Essential oils are good for improving hiking boots’ looks.

Method 5: Use deodorizing balls

You can also stop your hiking boots by using deodorizing balls. Like in the name, they are usually round, ball-shaped, but smaller.

Producers created them to eliminate odor in anything or space, and you can insert them in your hiking boots. So, insert them in your hiking boots and let them sit in there for a while.

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They are tiny and fit well in your boot, and they can penetrate where sprays may not get into. In addition, their smell is long-lasting and can last for as long as six months, depending on how well you use them.

You need to do this occasionally to ensure that you enjoy the fresh smell when you wear your hiking boots. You can also incorporate it into your care routine for your hiking boots.


  • This method is pretty simple and easy.
  • It is effective in de-stinking smelly hiking boots.
  • Leave your hiking boots smelling nice for an extended period.


  • It requires that you repeat the process often to get the best results.
  • The balls may not last if you expose them to air.

Method 6: Use boot tree

Another method to de-stink your hiking boots is using a boot tree. How does this help? One of the significant reasons hiking boots smell or grow bacteria or fungi is due to moisture in the boots.

First, boot trees can help suck the moisture in hiking boots and leave them dry. And this can, to an extent, help reduce the funky smell emanating from your hiking boots.

Second, boot trees are from cedar trees, and they have a pleasant sweet smell. This means that boot trees can replace the bad smell with a nicer one.

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Using boot trees to make your hiking boots smell better is not difficult or requires much, other than the material themselves. Once you have them, you can just insert the boot trees in your hiking boots overnight until you are sure the smell is gone.

You should probably always have boot trees at home, not just to de-stink your hiking boots. But they also help with drying your hiking boots and stretching them.


  • It is an effective way to de-stink hiking boots.
  • Boot trees can serve different purposes like stretching and drying hiking boots.
  • This method does not require much effort from your end.

Method 7: Insert air purifying bag

You can rid your hiking boots of stink by using an air purifying bag. This bag contains bamboo charcoal, and it helps to dry out the moisture in hiking boots.

When the moisture is out, the odor will be gone. So you can use this to absorb the odor and moisture in your hiking boots.

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All you need to do is insert the air-purifying dying bag in your hiking boots and let them work their magic. They can stay in your hiking boots for as long as they need to dry out the moisture and eliminate the bad smell.


  • Bamboo charcoal is effective in absorbing moisture and smell.
  • Does not require any expertise to do.
  • Safe for use in your hiking boots.

Method 8: Replace the insoles

change the insole of hiking boots to prevent smelling

One of the significant features responsible for smelling hiking boots is the insole. When your feet sweat, most of the moisture settles in the insole, making them smell.

In other cases, the insoles may just be too old to absorb moisture anymore, leaving your boots to smell all day long. While you can always try different ways to de-stink your hiking boots, it is better to replace the insole.

First, old or bad insoles won’t serve you well on the trail, so you need to use new ones. Second, you can enjoy hiking in comfort, and finally, you can eliminate the smell.

As a result, you can replace them and put them inside your hiking boots. If you can not remove the old ones, you can place the new ones on top of them.

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  • It helps eliminate the smell of hiking boots.
  • New insoles mean you can use your hiking boots for longer.
  • It also helps improve comfort in your hiking boots.


  • Changing the insoles may not be enough to eliminate the smell.
  • You will still need to de-stink your hiking boots from time to time when they smell.


Hiking boots tend to smell when you don’t care for them properly. However, the most common reason they smell is due to moisture, so they will probably smell more when you sweat or hike in wet terrains.

Nevertheless, you can prevent it by ensuring your boots are dry at all times. But if they are smelly already, you can try any of the methods we suggested in the article.

You should aim at preventing them from smelling in the first place. So, ensure your hiking boots are clean and dry at all times. Then, you can invest in some moisture-wicking materials like boot trees, air purifying bags, etc.

Additionally, you should also have deodorizers or deodorizing balls for situations when you need a quick fix before you set out on a hike. But always remember to keep your hiking boots clean. That way, they can last longer and stay smell-free.

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