I’m really good at getting messy on the trail. If there’s a deep muddy puddle, I’m going to find it. Naturally, I end up with mud and water sopping down into my boots and a swampy smell stinking up my closet.
It’s no secret, boots tend to get pretty funky after a long hike. Once your boots start to stink you have 3 options to remove the smell. You can thoroughly clean out your boots(which takes hours), deodorize(10 min or less) or you could buy new.
De-Stinking Hiking Boots
Generally, the smell coming out of your boots is caused by the boots getting damp from sweat or outside moisture. Without a boot dryer your boots just can’t dry fast enough. That dark humid environment is the perfect place for bacteria and fungal growth(WHICH STINKS).
Even if you soak your boots again and thoroughly dry them the stink doesn’t go away. You can try Febreeze and other cover-up smells, but that won’t last more than a couple hours. I needed something more permanent.
Start Off With The Insoles
Most of the smell is probably coming from your insoles. Cheap insoles work like a sponge soaking up sweat and moisture. Sometimes if you give the insoles a good soapy wash with dish soap you’ll cut down the odor a lot. If you use too much soap you’ll end up with a foamy mess.
Give the insoles a good rub down, working them through your fingers. Squeeze the soap through the fabric and keep rinsing as you go. Keep rinsing and make you get out all the soap so you don’t end up with soapy boots the next time you go hiking.
If washing your insoles doesn’t cure the problem you need to buy something to kill the bacteria. Luckily, there’s a quick and easy method that doesn’t require deep cleaning your boots.
You Can’t Cover Up Stench
It took so long for me to realize that you can’t just cover up the stench of bacteria forming on the fabric. With a combination of sweat, dirt, skin and god know what else, boots can get seriously funky.
I’ve tried powders, sprays, odor balls, etc and nothing seemed to work. I didn’t have an answer until I watched my buddy clean his snowboarding boots. He used an enzyme-based odor eliminator(like this) and the smell was gone almost instantly.
How to Deodorize Hiking Boots
Deodorizing hiking boots is actually a straightforward process once you figure out what to do. It’s all about treating the funk, not just covering it all up. The easiest way to cure that stank is to use an enzyme-based odor eliminator like Gear-Aid Revivex Odor eliminator(aka Mirazyme).
What are Enzyme-Based Odor Eliminator’s?
Mildew, sweat and other unpleasant scents can quickly ruin your expensive hiking gear. Luckily, you don’t have to deal with nasty smelling gear thanks to odor eliminators.
Odor eliminators get rid of bad smells without just masking it. They use water-activated enzymes to completely kill/remove the bacterias that cause odor. All you do is pour your favorite odor eliminator into a couple gallons of water and let your boots soak, it’s so easy.
How to Use Gear Aid (aka Mirazyme)
Throughout the years, I’ve tried so many different deodorizing products with mixed results. Most of the deodorizers simply masked the odor, leaving you with a funky smelling mix of sweat and “cool-breeze air”. I was never fully satisfied with deodorizers until trying Mirazyme, which recently changed its name to Gear-Aid Revivex Odor Eliminator.
How to Deodorize Hiking Boots
- Find a Large Plastic Tub/Container
Find a large plastic container, big enough for your boots to barely fit inside. You need to be able to fully submerge your boots in solution without having to use extra solution.
- Pour in the Enzyme-Based Odor Eliminator
Take your measuring cap and figure out how much water you need per capful of odor eliminator. With Revivex you need one capful for every 2 gallons of water.
- Fill Up Your Container With Water
Fill up your container with water just deep enough to dip your boots under. Make sure your boots are fully saturated with the water solution. Take your boots out of the water solution and set them off to dry. Continue using the solution to wash down all your other smelly gear.
- Set Your Boots Off to Dry
Once your boots are fully submerged with water take them out, sop out the excess moisture with water and set them off to dry. To speed up the drying process you can use a boot dryer or aim a fan inside the boots.