How stinky are your fishing shoes?

If you've got stinky fishing shoes, try these tips to cure the stench.

Keep your fishing kicks fresh with these tips

Anglers who wade a lot, whether it’s wading in a stream all day, or just stepping into the water to launch or retrieve a boat, have more footwear options than ever. Gone are the days of having to wear a pair of everyday sneakers that don’t fare well as water shoes.

Many manufacturers like Keen, Merrell, and Teva make water-friendly shoes that provide anglers with all the support, traction, and toe protection of sneakers. The shoes also have the convenience of slipping on easily and keeping your feet cool like sandals. These hybrid shoes incorporate the best of sneakers and sandals, but are still susceptible to one major downfall – they stink when they get wet.

So how do anglers keep their shoes from being hotbeds for bacteria that smell up their trucks and homes? Wilmington’s Anthony McGloshon prefers to wear Keen’s Newport H2 shoes when fishing. And he has a few tips for anglers to try. He said all these have worked for him.

“One way I keep the stench out of my fishing shoes is I first let them dry out in the sun, then I put them in the freezer. Between the sun heating the shoes up and the freezer freezing them, bacteria get the two extremes that will kill it. And this keeps your shoes fresh for the next trip,” he said.

Vodka ain’t just for drinking

McGloshon is also fond of what he calls the vodka method.

“You can do this whether the shoes are wet or dry. Just soak the shoes in vodka. I’d go the cheap route here. No sense in wasting big-money vodka on this, but cheap vodka works just fine. It will kill the bacteria that cause your shoes to stink. It kills it quickly, and the smell of alcohol is very faint once the shoes dry,” he said.

After each of his fishing trips, McGloshon likes to wash his boat at a coin-operated car wash, and he helps keep his shoes stench-free by using the soap and high pressure water available here.

“Most car washes have a place to hang your floor mats and wash them. I hang my shoes from there and spray them down with the soap and the rinse cycles. It gets them clean, and then I leave them in the sun to dry. A lot of people think the sun will be too harsh on a shoe’s materials, but if you get good quality shoes, they can take years of abuse from the sun. I’ve had the same pair of Keen’s for over 3 years, and they show very little wear. And I use them and leave them in the sun all the time,” he said.

Click here to read about a pair of great hunting boots.

About Brian Cope 2800 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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