Odor Control and Antimicrobial Solutions for Shoes and Footwear

We’ve all been there: taking off your shoes after a long day and being met with an overpowering odor that is difficult to rectify. There’s always the faint hope that once the shoe is aired out for a bit, the odors will subside and become tolerable. Yet the longer shoes are owned and continuously worn, the more permanent the odor can become, trapped in the fibers and materials that make up our favorite pairs of shoes.

93% of consumers* show some concern about the presence of odor in their footwear – and who wouldn’t? It’s no secret that odors on our shoes are unpleasant. They can cause feelings of embarrassment and shame and can even lead consumers to throw away their shoes prematurely. What’s worse, these odors can begin to permeate the air – causing their surrounding environment to be filled with the foul smell. Whether you store your shoes in gym bags, closets, or lockers, after a while, footwear odor sets up camp and sucks all the fresh air out of the space.

It’s a universal pain point. A quick google search pulls up a multitude of articles like ‘quick fixes for smelly shoes,’ or ‘best way to deodorize footwear,’ complete with home remedies to help mask the all-too-familiar scent of smelly shoes or socks. A lot of these methods involve an additional product that requires continuous upkeep and application, and sometimes, simply attempting to disguise a powerful odor doesn’t cut it.

Odor Control Shoes with Microban

Whether in the sole of a work flat or trapped in the fibers of a training shoe, odors are hard to ignore, but even harder to remove. Fabric shoe liners, foam, and other fibrous materials that are used in footwear can allow odors to become trapped – but if these materials are manufactured with built-in Microban® product protection, odor doesn’t stand a chance. Microban odor capture technologies form a protective barrier on textiles to trap and neutralize odor before it has the chance to take root in footwear, keeping shoes fresher for longer.

Scentry how it works

Shoe Odor: The Root Cause and How to Fix It

Covering up an odor doesn’t address the root cause of the problem: bacteria. Bacteria is naturally occurring in the environment, but when met with the optimal conditions of trapped heat, moisture, and dirt from footwear, bacteria begin to thrive and reproduce, leading to stains and odors that are hard to remove. Sweat from our feet even provide a nutrient source for bacteria, allowing them to continuously flourish, wear after wear.

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A 2018 swab study Microban’s microbiology lab collected samples from a pair of flip flops worn around the streets of New York City for an entire weekend. After being worn for hundreds of blocks around the city, in and out of stores, and to cafes and restaurants, the flip flops were shipped to our labs. There, it was discovered that the shoes were harboring hundreds of thousands of CFUs. Not surprisingly, it was the top of the flip flop that was carrying the most bacteria, as it was in constant contact with the foot – providing bacteria skin and sweat for a food source, and a continuous warm, moist environment to thrive.

Solving this problem can prove to be tricky, especially once the microbial growth has already taken root. The good news is, there are effective odor prevention and antimicrobial solutions that can be built directly into the materials in footwear to stop the stink before it starts: Microban® odor capture and antimicrobial technologies.

Antimicrobial Shoes with Microban

Antimicrobial solutions can be seamlessly incorporated into the materials of shoes, socks and other footwear to specifically target and fight against the growth of bacteria. In a study done by the University of Arizona, 96% of shoes were found to be contaminated with fecal bacteria among an array of others. The study revealed that the transfer rate of this bacteria onto uncontaminated surfaces ranged from 90-99%. Kick bacteria to the curb with an effective solution that stops the growth of bacteria before it starts: antimicrobial shoes. Microban antimicrobial solutions can be seamlessly incorporated into a range of substrates to offer 24/7 protection against bacteria growth for the usable lifetime of the product, extending durability and freshness.

Key Benefits of Microban Odor Capture, Odor Control and Antimicrobial Technologies for Footwear

  • Neutralizes odor on footwear to give consumers greater confidence and peace of mind
  • Extends product useful lifetime and durability
  • Reduction in odor leads to less frequent need of replacing and washing
  • History of safe and effective use
  • Helps prevent the growth of bacteria on treated fabrics and surface, fighting stains and material degradation
  • Microban brand Trustmark is synonymous with durability and quality product protection
  • OEKO-TEX® and bluesign® certified to fit seamlessly into sustainable textile manufacturing processes

Leave Stinky Bacteria Behind

Partnering with Microban enhances your footwear lines and gives consumers a product feature that will kick the competition to the curb. Our technologies can be easily integrated into a wide array of materials and production processes, and our teams work with manufacturers worldwide to select a custom formulation specific to supply chain needs.

*Multi-Sponsor Surveys, 2020