Pickleball Shoe Odor Or Unpleasant Smell: Solution For A Fresher Pair

How embarrassing is it when, all of a sudden, your shoes start to release a stinky odor? Pickleball players are indeed familiar with what I’m talking about. The solution to get rid of pickleball shoe odor and unpleasant smell is in your kitchen, and that is baking soda.

You can also use a dry soap hack to remove the stinking smell from the shoes immediately. Insert a bar of dry soap in your shoes and leave it overnight, it will absorb all the bad smell and moisture, leaving your shoes smelling pleasant. 

Pickleball Shoe Odor Or Unpleasant Smell Solution For A Fresher Pair

While the pickleball game in court itself is a blast, the same can’t always be said for the embarrassing, unpleasant odor that can extend throughout your pickleball shoes after a few intense matches. The combination of sweat, moisture, and the confined space of your shoes can create a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria.

If you have been battling with pickleball shoe odor lately, then do not worry too much because I will be providing you with worthwhile solutions to keep your pickleball shoes like Nike smelling fresh and pleasant.

Why Do Shoes Start To Smell Suddenly? 

Shoes release odors due to the combination of moisture and bacteria. Foot sweat, a natural part of physical activity, provides moisture for bacteria to thrive, leading to unpleasant odors. These bacteria keep growing in numbers in the warm, humid environment. This further leads to the breaking down of sweat and the release of foul smells.

Dead skin cells shed by feet accumulate in shoes, providing more food for bacteria. Shoes with poor ventilation or non-breathable materials catch moisture and heat and become an ideal environment for bacterial growth. Insufficient foot hygiene, improperly fitted shoes, and poor socks can also contribute to odor problems.

Older shoes may have collected more bacteria and odors over time, while factors like diet and overall health can also affect the odor of sweat.

Pickleball Shoe Odor Or Unpleasant Smell

How Do You Keep Your Pickleball Shoes Odor-Free And Fresh? 

The following ways will help you keep your pickleball shoes odor-free and fresh as new:

Choose the Right Shoes

Prevention is often the best solution to stinky pickleball shoes. Start off by selecting the right pair of shoes designed for sports activities like pickleball. Proper pickleball shoes are constructed with breathable materials that help manage moisture and odor. Look for shoes with mesh uppers that promote ventilation and help wick away sweat.

Additionally, make sure your shoes fit you properly. Shoes that are way too tight and packed can become the cause of increased sweating and odor. Whereas shoes that are too loose can result in friction and develop hotspots in your footwear. It’s crucial to go for the proper fit to prevent foot-related issues and odor problems.

Invest in quality socks

Choosing the right socks is equally important. Go for moisture-wicking and breathable socks designed for athletic activities. These socks are usually made from materials like merino wool or synthetic combinations that effectively manage sweat and reduce odor. Bypass cotton socks, as they manage to retain moisture, which can exacerbate the problem.

Practice good foot hygiene

Before you even think about addressing shoe odor, you must maintain proper foot hygiene. Daily clean your feet entirely with soap and water. Pay particular attention to the areas between your toes. Dry your feet thoroughly after washing, as damp feet are ideal for odor-causing bacteria to thrive.

Air out your shoes

After a challenging game of pickleball, don’t just kick off your shoes and forget about them. The first step in preventing odor is to air them out. Take off your shoes, remove the insoles, and place them in a properly ventilated area. Ideally, place them outside in the fresh air and sunlight to help kill the bacteria and dry out any remaining moisture.

Use shoe deodorizers

Shoe deodorizers come in various forms, from sprays to inserts, and they can be a very helpful addition to your shoe care routine. These products work to neutralize odors and keep your shoes smelling fresh. Here are some popular options:

  • Shoe Deodorizing Sprays: These sprays are easy to use. Simply spritz the inside of your shoes with the deodorizer and let them dry completely before wearing them again. Look for sprays or products that are specially created for athletic shoes.
  • Shoe Deodorizer Inserts: These are typically small, portable pouches filled with natural odor-absorbing materials like activated charcoal or cedar. Position them inside your shoes when you do not wear them just to help absorb moisture and odors.
  • Cedar Shoe Trees: Use cedar shoe trees to maintain the shape and absorb moisture from your shoes. They’re especially useful for leather pickleball shoes, as they can prevent the expansion of bacteria and mold.

Alternate your shoes

Rotating between multiple pairs of pickleball shoes. This can make a significant difference in odor control. When you give each pair time to air out between uses, it lessens the moisture build-up inside the shoes and minimizes odor as well. If you play pickleball frequently, consider having two or more pairs in your rotation. Also, read the Are Volleyball Shoes Good For Pickleball?

Wash your insoles

Insoles tend to collect sweat and odor over time. Take them out of your shoes and rinse them occasionally. Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions, but most insoles can be gently hand-washed with mild soap and water. Afterward, make sure they are entirely dried before you go on to reinsert them into your shoes.

Wash your insoles

Machine washable shoes

Some pickleball shoes are machine washable, which can be a game-changer for odor control. Look for the care guidelines and instructions for your particular shoes to see if they can be safely washed in a machine. This method helps eliminate bacteria, sweat, and odor effectively.

Freeze your shoes

Freezing your shoes is an unconventional yet effective method for eliminating odor. Put your shoes in a plastic bag and place them inside the freezer overnight. The harsh cold of the freezer destroys odor-causing bacteria and decreases the smell. However, this method may not work for all pickleball shoes, so check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Baking soda: The natural deodorizer:

Baking soda is a tried and certainly the most common solution for eliminating odors. It’s safe, affordable, and can be used for many household purposes, including shoe deodorizing. This is how you can use baking soda for your pickleball shoes:

  • Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside your shoes, covering the insoles and all other interior surfaces.
  • Leave the baking soda in your shoes overnight and let it absorb odors and moisture.
  • In the morning, shake out the extra baking soda, and your shoes should be fresher.
  • Repeat this process as needed.

Vinegar and water solution

Vinegar is another effective natural remedy for shoe odor. It has antibacterial properties that can assist in killing odor-causing bacteria. This is how you can use vinegar to prevent nasty odor:

  • Mix equivalent portions of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  • Let the shoes air out and dry thoroughly. The vinegar smell will disperse as they dry.

Tea Bags

Tea bags help greatly in absorbing odors and leaving your shoes smelling fresh. Here’s how to use them:

  • Place unused tea bags (black or green tea works best) inside your shoes.
  • Leave them overnight or for a day to absorb odors.
  • Take the tea bags out before you go on wearing your shoes again.

Sunlight and fresh air

Expose your shoes to natural sunlight and fresh air as often as possible. UV rays from the sun can help in killing the bacteria and fungi that cause odors. Leave your shoes outside in a bright, sunny spot for a few hours.

Odor-fighting insoles

Consider replacing your standard insoles with odor-fighting insoles. There are insoles available that are specifically designed to combat odors, featuring antimicrobial properties that inhibit bacterial growth. These insoles can be a long-term solution to maintaining freshness in your pickleball shoes.

Be mindful of what you eat

What you eat can impact the odor your body produces, including foot odor. Eating particular foods, like garlic and onions, can lead to unpleasant body odors. If you reduce the consumption of these foods, especially before playing pickleball, it may help reduce the intensity of your shoe odor.

Regular shoe maintenance

Proper shoe maintenance can go a long way in preventing odor. Tidy up your shoes daily by wiping them down with a wet cloth to remove dirt and sweat. In terms of leather shoes, utilize a leather conditioner to keep them supple and less sensitive to odor. For synthetic shoes, a gentle cleanser can be helpful. 

How Do You Keep Your Pickleball Shoes Odor-Free And Fresh?


What is the useful method to prevent pickleball shoe odor? 

The best way to prevent pickleball shoes odor is to have them cleaned right after you wear them. You should also be mindful about cleaning your feet and drying them before wearing shoes to stop the moisture and bacterial build-up in your shoes. 

How frequently should you wear the same shoes to prevent smell? 

You should alternate shoes after every game and at least have a pair of more than two to reduce the chances of smell. 

Does baking soda help with pickleball shoe odor? 

Baking soda helps a great deal with nasty shoe odor prevention due to its natural neutralizing properties. 

Can I wash my pickleball shoes in the washing machine?

It’s generally not recommended to wash pickleball shoes in the washing machine, as this can damage the materials and affect the shoe’s performance. Instead, clean your shoes by hand using a damp cloth and mild soap, and allow them to air dry thoroughly.


Pickleball is a fantastic sport, and your footwear should improve your performance and not be a source of embarrassment due to unpleasant odors. By taking a proactive approach to pickleball shoe odor, you can ensure that your footwear remains fresh and comfortable.

Whether it’s through proper hygiene, shoe choice, or using natural remedies, you have plenty of options to combat the stink. Follow the tips outlined, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your favorite sport without worrying about smelly shoes.

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