Boys' Life magazine

How to fix smelly hiking boots

My hiking boots smell terrible. Is there anything I can do to take care of that?
– Smelly Steve, Knoxville, Tenn.

A. Try taking a shower, Steve. No, seriously, keeping your feet clean is key. And wear only socks made of a wool and polyester blend that will wick moisture away from your feet. Powders like cornstarch and baking soda can also help keep your feet dry and less sweaty.

As for your boots, we asked Peter Sachs of LOWA Boots for some advice. Here’s what he had to say:

“Most hiking boots have removable insoles. Take those out and wash them with a mild detergent, but rinse them really well so you don’t get suds the next time you hike in the rain. Let them air dry. It’s also O.K. to fill your shoes with water and rinse them out. This will actually enhance the boot’s life by getting rid of the salts from your body’s sweat. To dry them out, stick newspaper inside. That’ll help pull moisture from the lining. Finally, borrow some dryer sheets from your mom and stuff those inside your boots overnight.”

Check out the BL Essentials guide for more hiking boot tips.