Why normal shoes stink—and why our Merino Shoes don’t

It’s a nice, sunny summer day. You spend the whole afternoon outside enjoying the sunshine. In the evening, you come home and slip off your shoes. A not-so-pleasant smell reaches your nose—your shoes stink! Of course, this is nothing to be embarrassed about, we’ve all been there. Stinky shoes have nothing to do with personal hygiene—actually, shoes stink because of their material. Here, we’ll explain what you can do to fight stinky shoes and why our Merino Shoes are the perfect stink-free, sweat-free and worry-free summer shoe.


Sweat is often falsely accused of being the culprit for bad odors—but have you ever been in a sauna? If so, you’ll realize that fresh sweat actually has a neutral smell. It’s only in very specific cases, such as during puberty or when one has a particular type of illness, does fresh sweat smell unpleasant. It’s actually just when bacteria start to break down the long-chain fatty and butyric acids found in sweat that it starts to smell. Bacteria thrive in warm, damp environments—so that’s why closed, non-breathable shoes start to smell very quickly.


  • Material: It’s totally in your hands—even before you start to worry about stinky feet, you can directly influence wether or not your shoes have a high probability of stinking. Synthetic upper material, synthetic inner lining and a narrow fit are all things that prevent feet from breathing correctly. When a pair of shoes meets all or one of these sweat-producing conditions, your feet begin to sweat—and your shoes begin to take on moisture. Instead, when choosing a pair of shoes, opt for natural, high-quality materials like leather or Merino wool. Virgin wool from the Merino sheep is moisture-regulating, anti-bacterial and super soft: perfect for your feet.
  • Air them out: if you’re already the happy owner of a pair of Merino shoes, you probably want to wear them all day, every day—at least that’s how we feel! :) No matter how much you love your Merino shoes, though, they also deserve a break now and then. Let them air out well to help keep them feeling fresh.
  • Socks: Socks are also moisture-holders, which means that they allow bacteria to thrive. Because of this, it’s important to change your socks daily. Or, for an easier option: with our Merino Shoes, you don’t even need to wear socks! To find out more about what barefoot shoes are, read our blog post.
  • Washing: Depending on their material, shoes can often be easily cleaned in the washing machine. Make sure to always pay attention to each pair of shoes’ individual washing instructions. Our Merino Shoes are all machine washable at 30°C (on the wool wash setting, without fabric softener.) Then, just let them air dry—don’t put them into the tumble dryer. Here’s our guide with step-by-step washing instructions.
  • Inserts: when washing your shoes, take out the inserts or footbeds and let them dry separately. Plus, it’s also a good idea to replace your footbeds now and then. 


There are many methods out there for minimizing the smell of stinky shoes. We’ve pulled together our 5 favorite methods:


The etherial oils from lemons and oranges are well-known for their natural scents. Just place some orange or lemon peels inside your shoes overnight, and they’ll be lemon-fresh by the morning.


Damp shoes are the ideal climate for bacteria. If your shoes get wet, either in the rain or from sweat on a particularly hot day, you should reach for the baking powder. Just take a thin sock and fill it with some paper scraps and baking powder to make a little pouch. Then, put the sock inside the shoes—the baking powder will suck the moisture out of the shoes, and will also neutralize unpleasant odors. And since baking powder smells neutral, so will your shoes—but if you’re looking for a nice scent, just use cinnamon instead of baking powder.


Fruity, herb, or neutral? Just place two teabags of your favorite kind inside your smelly shoes. They’ll absorb the moisture and leave behind a nice, subtle scent. Black tea and camomile tea are especially anti-bacterial.


Lavender is well-known both for its calming properties and its pleasant scent. Placing a few lavender flowers or drops of lavender oil in your shoes can work wonders. Ideally, let the flowers or oil sit in your shoes for a few hours before wearing them again.


One of the most beloved household items also helps fight smelly shoes: tea tree oil. Just put a few drops into your shoes and let it sit overnight. This antiseptic, anti-bacterial oil is also great for a refreshing foot-bath.


When designing our shoes, we’ve used our secret weapon against sweat and bad odors: Merino wool. The wool of the Merino sheep has a crimped structure, which makes it much harder for bacteria to embed itself in the fabric. Artificial fibers have a flat structure, which makes it easy for bacteria to set in. Plus, Merino wool can hold up to 30% of its own weight in moisture, which it then wicks away from the foot—which means that your feet will never feel damp. The core of these wool fibers is made up of two different types of cells, which are each able to soak up and hold different amounts of moisture. These two types of fiber then rub against each other, which gives Merino wool its unique self-cleaning effect. Plus, the keratin found in Merino wool helps break down unpleasant-smelling bacteria on the skin. So, you can slip into our Merino Shoes sock-free and worry-free—the shoes’ Merino wool will take care of keeping your feet dry and odor-free, the natural way!
merino shoes do not stink

more Information:

Ethical Shoes for an Eco Lifestyle

Ethical Shoes for an Eco Lifestyle

This is how the leather for our Merino Leather Boots is made

This is how the leather for our Merino Leather Boots is made

Even greener: our shoes made from recycled PET plastic

Even greener: our shoes made from recycled PET plastic

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