With shoes that have lasted people 2000 miles, it becomes important to keep them kept clean.
It would be such a shame to have to throw away a pair of shoes just because they smell but still have a few hundred miles left.
There are a number of ways you can both prevent shoes from smelling and looking their age, as well as a few to help freshen up a pair.
The world famous stink of the Vibram Fivefingers is due to people rarely wearing socks in them, which meant the shoes soaked up the sweat after every run. Socks are probably the easiest method of keeping a pair of shoes from becoming rancid. As our shoes are designed as sock optional, this is a common concern.
If you do not wear socks while running, regular hand washing of your shoes is a very good idea. Depending on your weekly volume, a once weekly to once monthly hand wash in the sink with warm water and a bit of soap can do a lot to keep smell at bay.
Leave the liner in
The Ortholite liners we include in our shoes is helpful for moisture management as well as being antifungal. These can definitely be removed from their shoes and washed in a washing machine without worry.
There are a number of methods, both proven and a bit mysterious, that can potentially remove an already present rankness.
Freezing the Shoes
Apparently freezing your shoes in a plastic bag overnight, and allowing them to thaw naturally, kills the odorous bacteria.
Fabric Softener, Conditioner Sheets, Tea Bags
These may help remove some of the moisture from the shoes as well as impart some of their scent to the pair, however may not entirely remove an odor.
Antifungal Spray, Antibacterial Spray, Baking Soda
Again, the hope here is that these will kill the odor producers.
If you must wash them
Washing machines are very violent on shoes and can definitely damage a pair. Placing the shoes in a pillowcase and tying it shut can help keep the shoes safe. This should generally be a last resort. Handwashing should be tried first.