Merrell shoes are comfortable, durable, and perfect for those adventurous trails, but a stinky issue often emerges with a peculiar odor. Speaking from personal experience, I was thrilled when I bought my first pair of Merrell shoes. After a few days of intense use, I was taken aback by their odor.  I decided to delve into the matter and figure out why my beloved Merrells were turning into a stinky affair. 

I began my quest to find an answer. My research led me to surprising discoveries about shoe materials, foot sweat, and bacteria. More importantly, it led me to practical solutions that have benefitted me in the same stinky situation.  Now, I’m eager to share my proven strategies with you so that you can keep your Merrell shoes fresh and odor-free.

The Science Behind The Stink: Why Do Merrell Shoes Smell More Than Others?

Merrell shoes, renowned for their durability and suitability for outdoor activities, might sometimes seem to have a more pungent odor compared to other brands. Through research and personal experience, I’ve come to understand the science behind this phenomenon.

Material Choice:

Merrell shoes are often made with sturdy, water-resistant materials to withstand rugged outdoor use. While excellent for protection and longevity, these materials can sometimes impede breathability. Limited airflow means moisture and sweat don’t evaporate as efficiently, creating an environment conducive to odor-causing bacteria.

Intense Usage:

These shoes are typically used for demanding activities like hiking, trail running, and trekking. Such intense usage naturally produces more sweat and moisture, contributing to the development of odors, especially if the shoes must be adequately dried out between uses.

Water Resistance versus Breathability:

The balance between making a shoe water-resistant and breathable is a challenging one. While Merrell shoes are great at keeping your feet dry from external elements, this water resistance can sometimes mean that internal moisture (sweat) is trapped inside the shoe.

Lack of Adequate Drying:

Outdoor shoes often don’t get the chance to dry out thoroughly between uses, mainly if they’re used frequently or in wet conditions. 

Insole Absorption:

The insoles of Merrell shoes, designed for comfort and support, can absorb sweat and moisture. Over time, this can accumulate odor if the insoles are not cleaned or replaced regularly.

Cleaning Techniques - Effective Ways To Deodorize Your Merrell Shoes:

Merrell shoes, known for their durability and outdoor performance, can sometimes trap odors due to their design and materials. Here are some practical ways I’ve found to keep them fresh:

Use Baking Soda:

Baking soda is an excellent natural deodorizer. I sprinkle a generous amount inside the shoes and let them sit overnight. Tapping out the powder leaves the shoes smelling much fresher the following day.

Freezing The Shoes:

Surprisingly, placing the shoes in a plastic bag and freezing them overnight can kill odor-causing bacteria. I’ve tried this a few times, especially in summer, and found it compelling.

Homemade Deodorizing Spray:

An excellent deodorizing spray can be made by combining water, white vinegar, and a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender or tea tree. I occasionally spritz the insides of the shoes with this solution to help neutralize odors and provide a pleasant scent.

Machine Washing:

For a thorough cleaning, I sometimes machine wash my Merrell shoes. I gently cycle them with cold water and mild detergent, then let them air dry. This method has been effective in removing deep-seated dirt and odors.

Charcoal Inserts:

Using charcoal inserts when I’m not wearing the shoes has been beneficial. Charcoal naturally absorbs odors and moisture, keeping the shoes fresher for longer.

My experience has taught me that proactive and consistent care is critical to keeping these durable shoes fresh and odor-free

Prevention Is Key - Tips To Prevent Your Merrell Shoes From Stinking:

I’ve learned a few valuable tips on how to prevent them from developing an unpleasant odor. Here are strategies I’ve adopted, including a personal experience that taught me the importance of shoe maintenance.

Proper Ventilation:

After each use, especially if they’re damp or sweaty, I air out my Merrell shoes. I learned this the hard way after a week-long hiking trip where I didn’t ventilate my shoes overnight. The result was a noticeable and unpleasant smell. Now, I always ensure they are placed in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

Use Moisture-Absorbing Inserts:

I often use moisture-absorbing inserts when I store my shoes. These inserts help soak up any residual moisture and keep the shoes fresher. This practice has significantly reduced odor issues, especially in humid conditions.

Regular Cleaning:

Cleaning the shoes regularly is crucial. I clean mine by gently brushing off mud and debris and using a mild soap solution for the exterior. For the insoles, which can harbor a lot of sweat and bacteria, I wash them separately and ensure they are dehydrated before putting them back.

Alternate Shoes:

Liquating between different pairs of shoes allows each pair to dry out between uses. This practice not only helps reduce odors but also extends the life of the shoes.

Avoid Storing in Damp, Enclosed Spaces:

Initially, I used to store my hiking shoes in a damp garage, which only exacerbated the odor problem. I’ve since learned to keep them in a dry, open space, making a significant difference.

Regular Insole Replacement:

I also learned that replacing insoles periodically can prevent long-term odor buildup. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to maintain freshness in the shoes.

By implementing these strategies, I’ve kept my Merrell shoes in excellent condition and largely odor-free, even with heavy use. It’s a combination of regular maintenance, proper storage, and preventative care that makes all the difference.


All in all, the issue of smelly Merrell shoes is a common one. However, with careful attention to keeping your shoes clean and dry, you can generally keep them from producing unpleasant odors. Furthermore, using odor-removal products or deodorizers can reduce existing overs between uses. Finally, if your shoes are consistently smelly despite your best efforts, consider replacing them.

Sniper Jones
Hi there, I'm Sniper Jones, mastermind of My digital platform is devoted to sharing valuable knowledge about various types of footwear that can help refine your shoe selection process. Shoes have always intrigued me, leading to an impressive collection of over 1000 pairs! was launched in 2023 with the objective to provide extensive information that aids you in making well-informed shoe purchases. I've assembled a squad of shoe aficionados who share my enthusiasm for delivering unbiased reviews and thorough buying guides. Our evaluations are rooted in our personal experiences, ensuring the advice we offer is practical and usable. I always welcome feedback and discussions. If you have any questions concerning footwear, feel free to leave a comment. I'm here to assist!