How to keep your deck shoes smelling fresh

Leather deck shoes from Samuel Windsor

The perfect deck shoe
Image source: Samuel Windsor

If Captain Cook was alive today, we’re sure he’d wear deck shoes. Favourite of boaties everywhere and commonplace on the high streets, this casual footwear classic looks great all summer long.

But how do you keep boat shoes smelling fresh without making the fashion faux pas of wearing them with socks? Here are ten easy steps to deck shoe happiness.

1. Clean

Having your daily shower isn’t enough. You need to clean and scrub your feet with rigour. Use your soap of choice, just make sure you scrub hard enough to kill the skin bacteria responsible for unwanted odours.

2. The secret to cleaning is drying

It’s futile going to all that work in the shower or bath if you then let your feet stay wet. Damp skin will allow odour causing bacteria to grow. Get between the toes with a towel and make sure your whole foot is bone dry.

3. Shoe rotation

No matter what you do to your feet, if you wear the same shoes every day of the week they’ll get smelly. Rotate your footwear. Wear boat shoes one day, sandals the next and on day three, a pair of laid back loafers. Just don’t batter your boat shoes.

4. Powder and products

Talcum powder will stop the smells before they start by keeping your feet dry. Cornflour is moisture absorbent too – it’s just as good for soaking up sweat as it is for thickening sauces. Baking powder makes life very unpleasant for bacteria as it’s an alkaline. Find the powder that works for you. But don’t go overboard – if you don’t let your feet perspire at all, you run the risk of heat rash.

Not sure where to start with products? Well then check out The Ged Lab’s brilliant post on foot-care products every man should own here.

5. Use in-soles

Available in outdoor shops, shoe shops and online, this is a simple, low maintenance solution to unwanted shoe odours. Just slip an anti-bacterial in-sole in your shoes. Look for one that offers high breathability to improve the airflow to your feet.

6. Antiperspirant

Sweaty feet cause nasty smells, so use an antiperspirant to limit the amount your feet perspire. Choose one with a scent that’s not too overpowering. You don’t want to swap one bad small for another.

7. Foot sanitizer

Actually, it’s hand sanitizer – those little bottles of cleansing gel we take on our holidays. As well as killing bacteria, the right gel is cooling and can add a hint of fragrance to help revive tired soles.

8. Go natural

There are some great natural ways to remedy the problem of smelly boat shoes. Cloves are a great idea as they have a strong smell and when placed in your shoes will help rid them of any lingering odours. Soaking your feet in green tea is also an effective way to combat odour causing bacteria.

9. Freeze your footwear

Put your boat shoes in a plastic bag, and put them in the freezer. The cold kills the bacteria so when you next wear your boat shoes, they’ll be fresh and odour free.

10. Relegation

Demote shoes once smells become ingrained. Make them your gardening shoes, or a spare pair you leave in the car. Extend their life by giving them a second wind, a new job. But don’t be afraid to bin them and start again.

If all else fails, give invisible socks a try. Designed to be discrete, they create a barrier between leather and skin. They are also known as footies – a great solution for keeping feet and boat shoes smelling fresh.

For deck shoes and more, visit the Samuel Windsor website.

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British boating blazer from Samuel Windsor

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Image source: Samuel Windsor

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