A few weeks ago, I stumbled across an old athlete’s trick for eliminating shoe stink: You stick your footwear in the freezer for a day or two, which supposedly kills the bacteria that cause the smell.
If it works for wrestling shoes, why shouldn’t it work for hiking boots too? So I stuck my favorite (and stinkiest) left boot in the freezer for a day, keeping the right boot out as a control. The left boot fit right in, sitting there between the frozen chipotle sweet potato fries I’d gotten on sale and the leftover crab-and-tomato sauce from dinner at a friend’s.
Twenty-four hours later, I pulled the boot out and gave them both the sniff test. The freezing didn’t kill the left boot’s stench completely, but it sure helped a lot — enough that I’m willing to try wearing them in polite company again, instead of saving them just for the trail.
There’s just one downside: Said boot has picked up a decided whiff of the tomato sauce it was sitting next to. Traipsing around with feet that smell like food isn’t exactly my favorite thing to do in bear country, so I’m going to have to wait a while for the smell to fade. Maybe I should try boiling the boots next?
Photo (c) Lisa Maloney (Just in case it wasn’t obvious…)