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Smelly Soccer Cleats: Whats the Solution?

Smelly Soccer CleatsYes, we have all experienced it, the horrible stench of smelly soccer cleats that have been stuck in a bag for a week. Even though I should know better, there are times when I will leave my cleats in a bag for a week without taking them out to dry. When I am testing a few pairs of cleats at one time, I tend to leave them sitting in the back of my car, and when my car sits in the sun for a few hours, believe me when I say… don’t want to be a passenger in my car! I do try to air dry my cleats after I wear them (right now I have 2 pairs outside on my balcony), but there are times when we just fall behind. So, what is the solution to stopping your cleats from getting smelly?

First off, I never encourage anyone to leave their cleats in a boot bag. After a game, the best thing you can do is stuff them with some newspaper and leave them outside to air dry. Not in direct sunlight, as this process would just overdry the material. Just leave them outside in a shady area. Doing this will make a huge difference! To get the most out of your cleats, they need to be treated properly. The best thing to do is see them as an investment! If you can keep them dry, smell should not be an issue unless you are not washing your socks. My best advice is to get into a routine of leaving them outside after practice or games. Here are some key tips:

  • Be consistent! Clean your cleats, and air dry them after every practice and every game.
  • Stuff your cleats with newspaper, it helps soak up any excess water that lies in your cleats.
  • Keep a Bounce sheet in your bag! This is something I advise 100% of the time. After a session, I place a Bounce Sheet inside my cleats or bag. Even though it doesn’t fully remove the smell, it still helps!
  • Use some Lysol. A recommended option is Lysol Neutra Air Fabric Mist, which helps neutralize odor by killing bacteria. I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t solve the problem, but it can be a temporary solution.
  • When buying cleats, choose K-leather rather than synthetic materials. Leather breathes more easily, so the odor does not stay trapped.
  • And finally, try out Skunkies. This a new product created by a couple of soccer moms, after they got tired of their kids’ smelly cleats! They eliminate odor and absorb moisture, which prevents bacteria, leaving cleats smelling a little better!

I found out about Skunkies after reading an article over at Their low-tech solution is a sachet filled with “proprietary” powder, meant to draw out moisture and deodorize. I think this is a great idea, and if they actually do work, they will help parents all over he US deal with their smelly cleat issues! You can check out the Skunkies at

So, is there an actual solution? There could be some alternatives that we haven’t found yet – but the above list is the way to go. The key is to work on prevention, and maintain cleats from the first time you wear them. If they are stinking up your space, chances are that it is the right time to invest in a brand spanking new pair. This will solve the smell issue, and also give you a fresh start. And next time around, make sure you get it right! If you have any tips for solving the problem of smelly soccer cleats please share with us!

About Bryan Byrne

The mastermind behind the revolution that is SoccerCleats101. Bryan started this website back in 2008 and has been testing boots on a daily basis ever since. Check out our About Page for more details on Bryan and the website.

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