Kit Care – How To Clean and Cure Smelly Cycling Shoes

Cycling Shoes
It that time of year when your cycling shoes begin to pong. Over the summer months, a build-up of sweat, dirt, and body oils creates the ideal environment for bacteria to breed in; then, with the constant damp of winter, your cycling shoes may never fully dry out—letting the bacteria multiply and emit unpleasant odours. 

Smelly cycling shoes are not uncommon, even in almost new footwear. I have taken new pairs of shoes on month-long touring trips and been on the verge of throwing them away at the finish because the stench is too severe.

Bacteria build-up in shoes not only causes smells. If you leave your cycling shoes dirty, bacteria will lead to the decomposition of the materials and stitching, especially in synthetic and natural leather. Removing bacteria will therefore reduce the chance of the fabrics rotting and extend the life of your footwear.

The good news is that I have found a solution to cure smelly cycling shoes; as well as a means to keep them fresh forever more…



Nikwax Sandal and Sports Shoe Wash

The first element is a thorough deep-clean using a dedicated cleaner such as Nikwax Sandal and Sports Shoe Wash.

This Nikwax wash cleans and deodorise non-waterproof footwear, including shoes, sandals, and next-to-skin areas of your cycling shoes such as insoles and footbeds.


The cleaning process is simple:
  1. Rinse your cycling shoes with clean water to remove loose dirt and to dampen surface
  2. Shake the bottle well before use and press down on the sponge applicator to break the seal
  3. Apply the wash generously over all areas that need cleaning (inside and out)
  4. Scrub stubborn dirt with a nail brush
  5. Rinse well in fresh water
  6. Stuff with newspaper to absorb excess moisture (replace 2-3 times over the course of a day)
  7. Thoroughly dry out footwear by placing the shoes in sunlight or close to (but not on) a radiator
Smelly Cycling Shoes


Boot Bananas Shoe Deodorisers

To keep your cycling shoes smelling fresh after their deep-clean, get a set of all-natural shoe deodorisers from Boot Bananas. They are simply fantastic.

Boot Bananas are made from naturally absorbent salts, minerals, and plant extracts from lavender, lemon, patchouli, and tea-tree; all wrapped in a cotton banana skin. The active ingredients are odour neutralising, moisture absorbing, and have natural antimicrobial properties.

Stuffing a pair of Boot Bananas into your shoes after each sweaty or damp ride will help to keep them dry and smelling fresh.

Your garage will smell more like the hills of Provence, and less like a Scottish bog.



These two simple products will ensure your cycling shoes are no longer a biohazard. Your family and friends will be forever grateful.

fizik Tim Wiggins


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