Leather Sandals Smell Bad?


Last year I purchased a very expensive pair of BORN Sandals. They are entirely made of leather. By late summer, last year, and now this summer already, they have acquired a nasty smell under my feet. Is there anything I can do to get rid of this odor? I know its not my feet, because this does not happen in any other shoes or sandals.


Thanks a bunch!

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By Carolyn (Guest Post)
May 16, 20060 found this helpful

I had the same thing happen - leather tends to do this when we use footwear without a sock of some sort. I tried several things, but finally conquered the problem with Lysol disinfentant spray, saturating the insole as soon as I got home and letting them dry thoroughly before reusing. I had to repeat each time I wore them - we live in the desert where it can easily hit 120 degrees in the summer, so sweaty feet are a given. Good luck.

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By Margaret (Guest Post)
May 16, 20060 found this helpful

I would contact the manufacturer. If you let them know that this has never happened before with other brands and that you are very disappointed in their product (especially since they were so expensive) they may be able to tell you what to do...OR they may even send you a free pair. Companies will do that sometimes to keep their customers happy, and to keep their customers. Good Luck!

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By MawMaw2four (Guest Post)
May 16, 20060 found this helpful

Put them in a plastic bag or shoe box in the freezer over night. The smell is from bacteria & the freeze kills the germs.

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July 1, 20180 found this helpful

Not true. I worked for Greenpeace in the Antarctic for 7 years.

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May 17, 20060 found this helpful

This is a bit off your subject, but I was trying to find a place to fit it in, I live in Wahington and I am always ont he look-out for comfortable shoes.We have a variety, pharmacy called Bartells, and I found the most comfortable pair of shoes for 9.99.They are that garden shoe, the kind that have a wide toe and little holes on the top.They are very cushy.Kersti, from Bellevue,

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By Kathy (Guest Post)
May 17, 20060 found this helpful

Wow -- I thought I was the only one! My feet NEVER, ever smelled in other shoes, but I found mine doing the same thing in the Born Sandals I purchased. I don't have a solution, but I think I will try that Lysol tip. I just read about that in a magazine the other day so I'm sure it works.

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By Missy (Guest Post)
May 24, 20060 found this helpful

I have the same problem with my Born sandals. They are so comfy, but I also have the nasty odor problem with them which I've never had before. I will try the freezer and/or lysol solutions. Has anyone tried this yet? With or without success?

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May 5, 20190 found this helpful

I have tried the freezing. It works. Leave in the feezer for week.

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June 23, 20190 found this helpful

Lysol isn't meant to clean clothing / shoes; it may get rid of the outer bacteria temporarily, but it will eventually break down the leather / rubber / stitching, making the shoes worthless..... Try 91% Rubbing Alcohol

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September 5, 20190 found this helpful

The same thing is happening with my Rieker problem ever in the past but my new ones, only worn 3 times are doing the same thing so it is not just the Born sandals. I wonder what they are doing to the leather?

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By Barbara (Guest Post)
June 4, 20060 found this helpful

I have several pairs of leather sandals that are worn during the spring & summer months. One pair, which was the most expensive, started to smell after only a few wearings - so I put them away.


I will try the freezer tip and, if that does not help, the Lysol spray. Will post the results FYI.

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By reeks (Guest Post)
July 6, 20070 found this helpful

My feet reek in my leather Keen's. Someone suggested the freezer trick. I googled it and found this link. I'm deperate enough to try it.

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By Kevin (Guest Post)
August 3, 20070 found this helpful

I have frozen my sandals many times and that doesn't work. As soon as they thaw the smell comes back. Freezing doesn't kill bacteria, it freezes it. Boiling kills bacteria. I also tried using Armor All and that doesn't work. I don't think I can boil my sandals so I'm going to try the lysol trick. Also putting gold bond foot powder on the sandal before use, not alot just enough to to cover it thinly, will keep the smell gone for most of the day. But one must repeat this before every use.

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September 22, 20070 found this helpful

I've found this happens every year by the end of the summer. Leaving them in the sunshine on the deck for most of the day helps remove the smell. I do this with sneakers also.

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By Joan (Guest Post)
March 1, 20080 found this helpful

Try wiping the sandals with vinegar water. Vinegar kills bacteria. If damp set out in the sun to dry.

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By K. Brown (Guest Post)
April 24, 20080 found this helpful

Try spraying with Simple Solution (available in pet stores) or Krud Kutter (available in paint stores and Home Depot). Both are non-toxic. Dry in the sun if possible. Most important, dust inside of shoes with baby powder before every wearing. (We live in Florida and hate socks!)

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May 14, 20080 found this helpful

OK, I own one of the most popular SKETCHERS from Shoe Pavilion Leather Sandals. I've tried freezing, Rubbing Alcohol,Fabreeze, Foot Powders and Trimedic spray with no good results. Still with he same PUNGENT smell strangely only with my Sandals and not any other shoes or rubber sandals. Quite sad because these are probably the most comfortable foot wear I own... PERIOD!


All I have left to try is leave out in the sun and... well... as you all know... buy a new pair.

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By (Guest Post)
June 5, 20080 found this helpful

I have this problem too with leather sandals in general. Although now I have some sandals that seem to be treated differently and don't smell (yet). Try leaving them outside in the sun when you don't use them, instead of inside. When I worked as a lifeguard and my sandals would sit in the sun when I wasn't wearing them they never smelled.

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September 9, 20180 found this helpful

As a lifeguard, your feet and shoes were probably exposed to chlorine, which also has a sanitizing effect. Try wiping out the insides of sandals w Lysol or Clorox wipes after each use.


Hasn't harmed my SAS leather sandals at all.

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By LoveMyTimbs (Guest Post)
August 18, 20080 found this helpful

Well, Leather Sandals are my favorite sandals. Lysol disinfect and my girlfriend's hair dryer on high heat seem to do the trick, but having a few spare pairs doesn't hurt either.

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By makethescene (Guest Post)
October 2, 20080 found this helpful

Very simple solution to smelly leather sandles. First wash them with mild soap and water...use more suds than water to clean off all the dirt. Try not to "soak" the sandles. After they are clean...treat them with a leather cleaner/conditioner. Sun dry.

The most important thing about leather sandles is not to put filthy feet inside of them. I do a quick rinse before I wear mine. One way or the other even with washing your feet leather will become dirty over time and call smell.


Washing them weekly with mild soap and setting in the sun to dry will get rid of the smell...but your leather will start to wear faster and absorb sweat if not treated with a conditioner.

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By plagerist (Guest Post)
December 9, 20080 found this helpful

Best Answer - Chosen by Voters
The following are instructions for general leather cleaning: Before cleaning leather, determine whether the leather is finished - like luggage, furniture and garments - or unfinished - like baseball gloves, work boots and saddles. Then follow the instructions below to keep your leather looking fabulous.

Difficulty: Easy
Finished Leather
1Step - Place a small amount of a gentle, moisturizing soap such as Dove on a damp cloth and bring it to a light lather.


2Step - Rub the damp cloth on the leather without putting too much water on the leather.
3Step - Wipe away lather with a fresh damp cloth. Don't rinse the leather in water.
4Step - Polish leather with a dry towel.
5Step - Treat leather with a leather conditioner after it has dried completely.

Tips & Warnings
Cleaning leather is a dangerous game. Cleaning can change the color or appearance of the leather. Always test the cleaning on a small invisible patch of leather before proceeding on the whole item.
Avoid products like mink oil, shoe polish and waxes when cleaning leather furniture or garments.

Unfinished Leather

1Step - Use a damp cloth or sponge to rub saddle soap into the leather; work soap into a light lather.
2Step - Wipe away lather and allow to air dry.
3Step - Oil leather with a leather preservative such as mink oil.
1 year ago

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June 23, 20130 found this helpful

First of all do NOT use vinegar on leather. It will destroy it over time. Acid is bad for leather. Foot sweat is often acidic which is why it is important to clean leather sandals now and then even if odor isn't a problem. Personally I would use saddle soap to clean them since its actually made for use on leather.

I would then treat the leather with Obenauf's heavy duty lp (a blend of waxes and oils), applying it repeatedly over the course of a few days until it has soaked up as much of it as possible. Heating the leather with a hair dryer will help it absorb more.

The idea is if the leather is really permeated with this stuff it isn't going to absorb sweat. You may still need to clean them and / or use the gold bond trick periodically, but at least the stink and sweat you will be treating will just be on the surface and not soaked deep into the leather.

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February 19, 20161 found this helpful

Boy, I'd be really cautious with spraying with Lysol and then putting your bare foot in there. Who knows what chemicals you might be absorbing through the soles of your feet...which may be particularly conducive to transdermal absorption.

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