The Essentials For Keeping Your Feet Fresh at the Gym

Essentials You Need In Your Gym Bag The Essentials For Keeping Your Feet Fresh at the Gym

If you are at all a fan of fitness, you probably hit the gym at least a couple times a week. This is the favorite destination of millions of Americans looking to take care of their body in the best way they can. We know the stories of triumph, and success, and dedication. However, we also know some very different stories, too.

Namely, the stories about the horrendous stench wafting out of the locker rooms. The biggest offenders? Stinky sneakers.


However, you don’t have to be scared of this mystery scent. Oh, no, no. In fact, I’m going to talk to you about how to completely rid your gym shoes of any offensive odor that may take hold. I want you to fear that fiftieth push-up, not opening your gym bag and being hit in the face with foot stank (… Okay, but also I don’t actually want you to fear push-ups). So, today we’re going to talk about how, exactly, to keep your feet feeling fresh and clean for the whole workout, and getting your sneakers in line is the first step in that process.

Keep reading to find out what you can do, and what you should absolutely always have on hand at the gym!


Duffle Bag Inventory

If you don’t have at least one of each in your duffle bag, you’re doing this whole “gym thing” wrong. There are definitely a few items that are absolutely invaluable to you. We’re going to go down a list of daily essentials that you should always keep on hand whenever you hit up the gym!


Shoe Deodorizer

This is an absolute necessity above everything else. Having a good deodorizer is the difference between a fresh, clean gym bag and a stinky disaster you dread opening. Deodorizer goes a long way in keeping scents from building up, so make sure you invest in one! Let’s go over the three most commonly used forms.


Johnson's Baby Powder
  • Johnson's Baby Powder
  • Price: See Here
Sof Sole Sneaker Balls
  • Sof Sole Sneaker Balls
  • Price: See Here
Fresh Frogger
  • Fresh Frogger
  • Price: See Here


  • Sneaker Balls: Sneaker balls are incredibly popular, and a lot of athletes have them bouncing about! Essentially, gym-bag-essentials1they’re actually what their name would suggest. Sneaker Balls are little, plastic balls which have a mixture of ingredients inside of them which helps them deodorize sneakers.
    Fun Fact: You can actually make your own sneaker balls! We’ll have an article on that shortly, so stay tuned.
  • Powder: This is another great method, albeit a slightly messier one. Powders can be great for bringing sneakers back to life, and they’re great to have on hand. I recommend using a powder before you air-dry your sneakers in the sun. Give your sneakers a generous dusting, and then smack them together to get rid of excess powder. Leave them in the sun and fresh air, and you’re good to go!
  • Spray: One of my favorites! Sprays are awesome for giving your sneakers a quick boost before you put them back in your gym bag. I always keep a deodorizing spray and use it in tandem with my sneaker balls. They’re great separately, but an absolute dream team together!

Stain removers

Maybe you’re going for a run outside today and take a wrong step, or maybe you experience an unfortunate spill inside. Either way, if it ends in a stain on your sneaker, you want to take action as soon as possible. The longer you leave stains on any material, the longer it’ll take to get those stains lifted. There’s no reason to run around in grimy sneakers when there are so many great options around. These are some handy products to keep around in case your sneakers run afoul!


Crest Travel Mini
  • Crest Travel Mini
  • Price: See Here
Tide To-Go
  • Tide To-Go
  • Price: See Here


  • Tide on the go: Having one of these handy, little pens on you is an absolute lifesaver. Tide on-the-go is a great option for people who want to dab some detergent on their shoe so that it can soak in before it gets fully washed.
  • Toothpaste: Alright, this is obviously a weird one. I promise you it’s a great tip, though! Toothpaste is super handy at keeping your smile gorgeous… and your sneakers clean! You just put a little non-gel toothpaste on a toothbrush and scrub the dirty spot gently. You’ll wipe it off with a warm, damp cloth. I suggest keeping a travel size tube on hand!


Having a great pair of insoles can be the difference between a comfortable run, and a world of hurt. There’s nothing like shaving seconds off of your time, but that’s impossible if you’re uncomfortable the entire time. I highly recommend a pair of insoles that’ll keep your feet happy mile after mile. Some people don’t really like insoles and think they’re a rip-off. I can totally understand that position, but I really disagree. I love my insoles, and they treat me very well. There are two basic types that I’ll go over below!


Dr. Scholl's  Air-Pillo
  • Dr. Scholl's Air-Pillo
  • Price: See Here
Slepo Comfort Insoles
  • Slepo Comfort Insoles
  • Price: See Here


  • Comfort: Insoles designed specifically for comfort are great for weight training or any activity at the gym that isn’t running. They give you cushioning for your feet, and fill out your arches so that you can have a happier, healthier foot overall.
  • Running: If you’re a cardio lover, then you should absolutely invest in some running-specific insoles. These give you a little more of a specific fit that you need while you’re hitting the pavement or the treadmill. These specialty insoles are such a great option for runners!


It’s a commonly known fact that you should NOT use your street sneakers at the gym. Everybody should have a dedicated pair that they only use for working out. Because of this, you should have a spare pair of shoes that you can slip in and out of easily while you’re heading to the gym, or out of it. I recommend two different types of shoes to have on hand.


  • Flip-flops: A timeless classic beloved by all! Or, most people, anyways. Regardless of how you feel about flip-flops, they’re a great option for an in-between home and the gym look. They may not be quite as stylish as we’d like, and they may look super unprofessional… but who cares? You’re not working a board meeting! And, of course, you can always invest in a stylish pair. I really recommend looking into sturdy, comfortable options, however. Fitflops come to mind!
  • Slips: What athlete doesn’t have some slips in their shoe collection?! The most famous of these, of course, is the Adidas slip, but there are way more options out there. We especially love Puma slips! There’s a reason so many people can be seen sporting these out and about- they’re comfortable and super easy to slip on (hence the name!).
  • Roll Up Flats: These are a little-known style of flat, but they’re gaining traction. They save space and offer you a quick, effortless way to transfer from gym chic to street savvy as far as fashion goes.

Shoe covers

This is another item that may seem “extra”, but I always keep my sneakers separate. This is a great idea because it keeps them from getting anything else dirty. Outside runners, especially, need to pay mind to what their sneakers are touching in their bag. Dirt and bacteria from the ground can contaminate your toothbrush, makeup, and more! So, let’s go over some great options!


Kenox Duffle Bag
  • Kenox Duffle Bag
  • Price: See Here
  • Smartek Nylon Shoe Bag
  • Price: See Here


  • Built-in Bag: Now, this may not work if you already have your bag of choice. However, I recently bought a GREAT bag that I love very much (check it out below!). It has a separate pocket entirely for your sneakers, which is just fantastic. I like to clean off the soles of my sneakers before I pop them in quickly with a wet paper towel just to make sure I don’t get the pocket too dirty,
  • Shopping Bag: If all else fails, just keep them in a shopping bag! A plastic grocery bag is great for this purpose. Just tie it up and throw it in there. I’m a huge fan in particular of recycling those bags into more uses, so this is a great way to do that.
  • Specialty: There are also specialty bags that you can purchase that are specific for this purpose. Honestly, they’re great, but a plastic bag works just as well. Whether or not you want to spend the money is up to you, of course. There’s also the aesthetic to think of since you can buy cute bags that match your set up.


Tips & Tricks

Air shoes out

It’s so incredibly important to let your sneakers air out. This helps keep them sanitary, which is super important for keeping your feet healthy. As mentioned above, I really recommend doing it as much as you can. This is super important if you end up running in a drizzle, or you accidentally get your shoes wet. There are two ways I like to go about it, depending on how wet my shoes are.

  • The Sun: I like to leave my shoes on the porch at least once a week to make sure that they aren’t getting too gross. The sun has some amazing, strange powers to keep your shoes fresh (and the outside air helps tremendously, too!).
  • Dryer: For sneakers that are super soaked (we’ve all been caught out in a sudden storm), throw them in the dryer. Make sure to take out the laces first, and use the lowest setting for a nice, slow dry.

Don’t Forget These

  • 2 extra toothbrushes: As mentioned above, toothbrushes are great for cleaning on the go. The reason you should have two is that you’re using them for different purposes! One of them is used to scrub dirt and debris out of your soles. The other toothbrush will be used to spot-clean the upper and midsole.
  • Keep extra shoelaces: Always make sure you have an extra pair of shoelaces ready to go. You never know when your laces will wear out, and when they do you need to replace them as soon as possible. This can be a huge safety hazard! Having your shoelaces break while you’re working out can mean tripping, falling, and getting injured.
  • Super glue: Weird, but great! Super glue can offer a quick fix when you need it. You can superglue your soles back on if they fall off (it happens!). While you definitely need to replace your shoes, super glue can give you a little bit of an extended life in the meantime. There are also shoe glues out there to try, too!
  • First Aid Kit: I’m a big fan of safety. Although this isn’t strictly about shoe essentials, it relates! Blisters should be treated as soon as possible, and toenails can suffer damage. Keep a small kit in your bag so you can get your feet fixed up as soon as anything might happen.


Now you know what you need for your gym bag! It’s important that you make sure all of your bases are covered. Being at the gym means not having access to the arsenal of items you have at home (obviously). Because of this, you should always have some stuff on hand that can provide quick fixes while you’re out and about.


One of the biggest problems that plague all the gym rats I know is stinky sneakers. We’ve offered a ton of solutions for those who need a way to stave off the stench and keep it far, far away from your favorite pair of sneakers.

We’re going to start an entire series on workout essentials, so stay tuned for more vital information relating to your gym necessities! We’ll be going over making your own sneaker balls, what running sneakers I love most, and more!