My Shoes Stink! What Should I Do?

Sometimes shoes smell. This is nothing to be ashamed of.


Whether the odor bothering you is from super new shoes that still have some lingering artificial smell from the vegan leather or shoes that have been lovingly worn to the point of sweaty foot stank, there is a way to fix the stink!


Tomboy Toes shoes and other formal shoes definitely can’t just be tossed in the washing machine or soaked in cleaning products. So how do you get rid of the smell?


To Fix Artificial, Rubbery Odors in Your Shoes

Sometimes when you receive a brand new pair of shoes, the vegan leather was very recently cut, releasing unpleasant artificial smells. It will go away naturally on its own, especially if you leave the shoes out on a balcony or porch in sunny weather, but you can also speed up the process.


  1. Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of half vinegar and half warm water.
  2. Set the spray to “mist” and gently mist the shoe with the water/vinegar mixture. You don’t need too much!
  3. With a cloth, rub the mixture softly into the shoe.
  4. Leave the shoes somewhere sunny to air dry.
  5. After the shoes feel 100% dry to the touch, apply a thin coat of the complimentary shoe polish that comes with each pair of Tomboy Toes shoes.



To Fix Organic, Sweaty Odors in Your Shoes

When you really love a pair of shoes, you wear them at any opportunity. That means, unfortunately, they’re going to start to smell like feet. If your shoes start to get pungent after a few too many spins on summer wedding dance floors, here’s a way to attack the problem.


  1. Get an old or cheap stocking or pantyhose – dollar store variety will work!
  2. Fill the end with coffee grounds, kitty litter, or baking soda: you want it full enough to stuff the shoe.
  3. Tie or clip the ending closed.
  4. Stick your stocking full of your chosen absorbent material into the inside of the shoe.
  5. Leave the shoes with the odor absorber inside of it any time you’re not wearing the shoes. You should notice a difference after the first day or two!


Secrets From A Theatre Costume Manager

Need a super quick, super effective fix?


Lots of backstage costume managers deal with the problem of super stinky, much-worn shoes by putting some straight vodka into a spray bottle and spraying the insides of the shoes with it. There are folks who swear by this method!



Did None Of These Work?

If you’re dealing with a serious intensity of smell, you may need to attack it from a couple of different angles. Here’s another handful of tricks to try:


  1. Put your shoes into a plastic bag and then leave them in the freezer overnight.
  2. Stick dryer sheets into the insides of your shoes overnight.
  3. No dryer sheets or vodka? Pop a tea bag into each of your shoes, leave them a couple days to soak up the moisture and smell.

1 comment

  • Lisa

    LOVE these shoes so much! Finally a great looking show that I feel comfortable in! Any chance you could make some of the vegan""leather" options in real leather? The "egan “leather” cause my feet to be horribly hot and sweaty in my S Florida environment! To the point of discomfort if I am outside for long. I would love to see the Downtown Dappers and Roguish Brogues in a leather where my foot can breath and be comfortable.

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