Deodorizing Vibram Five Fingers Shoes

One issue that arises when using Vibram Five Fingers is the obvious fact that they will stink! It’s almost guaranteed. Like most dirty sneakers they can smell. They can smell even worse than sneakers and can be difficult to clean because of the little nooks and crannies that make up the toe fingers of the foot. A couple tips that could help are in this video below regarding cleaning and washing the shoe.

I personally suggest washing the shoe more or less once a week depending on the frequency of use. Many people I talk to wear them day in and day out so they can really stink. You can also use deodorizers to help get rid of the smell. Some people also suggest leaving them in the pool to let the chlorine handle killing the bacteria that causes the odor and then washing it afterwards.

For me, I find that using shoe deodorizers is the most effective way to get rid of the stink. Penguin and New Balance make some popular brands.

Watch the video for more tips about the Vibram Five Fingers cleaning process.

For more information on Vibram Five Fingers Shoes, click on the links below:

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Gareth Evans December 17, 2009, 6:31 am


    I thought this was a vid about cleaning tips.

    It’s more like an advert for the shoe and where you’ve run!

    Hint: Forward to 5 mins for the cleaning bit. 7 mins onward, sales pitch starts again. 2mins of actual cleaning info in 8 min clip.

  • lisa December 20, 2009, 6:32 am

    i tried some on yesterday and they said they are protected with aegis order guard something. i am wondering if they always have had this “protection” – because i don’t want it, personally. i am not a fan of dow chemical created antimicrobrial technology on my feet daily – and if so i am trying to find an older model of the shoes!

  • lisa j December 20, 2009, 6:33 am

    sorry, i meant odor guard!

  • Drew Baye December 22, 2009, 9:00 am

    Thank you for posting this. I have only worn Vibram Five Fingers since April (1 pair KSOs, 2 pairs Sprints) except for a wedding, and despite washing them every 4 to 5 days they still get a little funky. This will keep my wife from hassling me about it.

  • Lowell_m April 28, 2010, 8:02 pm

    washed them and they still stink even while I wear them the day after… what should I do?

  • barefootie April 28, 2010, 10:45 pm

    hey lowell, here’s some tips:

    in general, you can use the toothpaste, detergent method or just leave it in the swimming pool for a while to make sure all the stink is gone!

  • JT May 23, 2010, 6:24 pm

    I’ve found that washing them and then putting some baking soda in them overnight (take the soda out before you put them back on) does wonders for the smell. The longer the soda is in, the more it absorbs.

  • Nic June 30, 2010, 8:36 am

    One of the best ways I’ve found to keep the stink down is soak them in a bucket with warm water and 2 Efferdent tablets (yes, the denture cleaner). I soak them between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on when I remember to take them out. I also do it right before I wash them since they’re going to be wet anyway and then they just have to dry once.

  • they July 27, 2010, 1:37 am

    I swore I’d never wear vibram five fingers. We called them the vibram kso of Suck a few years ago and I was sure they were crazy. Friends, I’m here to tell you I was wrong. And I’m sorry. Here’s my story: I ran a marathon a few years ago. I got plantar fasciitis and couldn’t run after the marathon. I worked through that inflammation but by the time I was ready to run vibram FiveFingers Sprint again I had gained thirty pounds. Wham. Shin-splints. So I was a fat former runner with leg problems. The prognosis wasn’t good. So I tried a few things – the elliptical, weight training, losing some freaking weight – but the thing that saved me were these vibram five fingers shoes.

  • Jennifer November 28, 2010, 10:34 pm

    Soak them in a bucket of warm water, about a cup of vinegar (more for smellier) and I also add a cup of tide fabreeze sport detergeant to the mix ( this will combat the vinegar smell). Soak for a few hrs then dump it all in the washimg machine and wash. I could wear mine around other people again 🙂 since it’s winter there is no more outside running with them so, in order to stay comfortable on the treadmill and keep the people next to me from passing out. I do this once a week. I don’t care they feel good on my feet so if I have to soak my shoes once a week I can deal 🙂


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