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Merrell's Barefoot shoes... Oh the stink!
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Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Merrell's Barefoot shoes... Oh the stink! on 07/21/2012 08:48:28 MDT Print View

First off I have to say that I love these shoes (Barefoot Run Bare Access, in black/gecko if you are curious). They were my new favorite shoes. They are my most comfortable and lightweight shoes, have survived rough terrain and even bushwhacking and off-trail hikes. I took them on my most recent (nearly) XUL hike several days ago (blog link on my profile if you want to read the trip report) and they did awesome over a total of about 30km (20 the first day 10 the next day).

But my wife and my two friends that came on the trip keep on teasing me (and rightfully so) about the stink. They smell horrid. I've washed them by hand with soap and water, I have air dried them in the sun for hours, I have tried both cotton and synth socks, and even while hiking I would rinse them off in lakes/streams to try and keep the stink at bay. Nothing has worked.

It's a shame, because I love these shoes. I am planning a 5 day trip next month and would love to take them, but the stink is bad enough to make me consider using my heavy New Balance trail runners instead, which don't have the stink problem.

I did a quick search and noticed that there are lots of minimalist/barefoot style shoe fans on here, of course. People have complained about the stink, and have offered a few tips, most of which I have already tried. They don't have drier sheets in Sweden that I know of, so I can't get those to put in there as an odor eater, which is one of the more creative tips I read.

Any other tips/advice would be nice, thanks. :)

PS--I have emailed Merrell directly and will post their advice if/when I get it.

Edited by PrimeZombie on 07/21/2012 08:49:13 MDT.

Aaron W
(ADW245) - MLife

Locale: Chula Vista
Stanky shoes on 07/21/2012 10:20:41 MDT Print View

If you are able to get you hands on it I have had good luck with Mirazyme. I wash all of my trainers and barefoot shoes in the clothes washer with warm water and a little Mirazyme. For more stubborn smells I soak them over night in higher consecration.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Soak in baking soda on 07/21/2012 10:22:29 MDT Print View

Nothing can stink as bad as a well worn neoprene kayak shoe. A technique that has always worked for mine is to dump a box of baking soda in a small wash load, along with the standard amount of laundry detergent, agitate for a few minutes, let soak for 24 hrs, then run them through the normal wash cycle. Good luck with the funk!

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Stanky shoes on 07/21/2012 10:55:55 MDT Print View

Borax will work well also. Very alkaline, kills stinky.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
lysol on 07/21/2012 11:29:42 MDT Print View

thats what they use at gyms and shoe rental shops on stanky climbing shoes ... and pets ;)

you can get em in 1oz spray bottles for trips ... but u may no longer be SUL =P

Edited by bearbreeder on 07/21/2012 11:36:13 MDT.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Thanks for the tips on 07/21/2012 11:42:45 MDT Print View

I will see what I can do, thanks guys.

Now for a follow up (dumb?) question: So what do you do while out on the trail? Just put up with the funk? I remember reading Mike C.'s comic a while back that said something like "It's okay to be stinky" or something, and I understand now why he encourages this tolerant view of stink.

I am used to combat boots up until a few years ago when I got into LWBPing. Heavy, oh yes, but they have their pros too--like much, much less funk. I will still wear boots on day trips and on trips where I know there is severely rough terrain.

Is there a barefoot type shoe out there made out of say, canvas and leather? And under 200g each?

Andrew Zajac

Locale: South West
some methods from the climbing community on 07/21/2012 13:06:01 MDT Print View

Prevention is probably the way to go and I have had good luck with my climbing shoes by just chalking them up with the same chalk that I would use for my hands which simply acts as a drying agent. It may not be in the UL mantra, but have you tried bringing something like climbing chalk or gold bond to act as a drying agent to put in your shoes after a day of hiking? I can't imagine that chalk or gold bond would weigh too much.

I have actually had good luck with some stanky climbing shoes using my freezer. I just let them dry well, threw some chalk in them, and then stuck them in the freezer for a few days. I was pretty skeptical of this method at first, but I still have the shoes around and they are still relatively stink free as long as I am vigilant with chalking them up after each climbing session.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Thanks for the tips on 07/21/2012 15:11:26 MDT Print View

Re "what to do" with the funk on the trail. This may sound odd, but something to consider is your diet. I don't say this to be funny, or mean spirited, but my wife had the most foul smelling feet I have ever been remotely close to. Her shoes were rotten smelling and my stomach would turn if, after backpacking or other physical activity, she crawled in the tent or van bed without washing them first.

After our child was born, we decided to switch over to a diet of 100% organically grown food. Having given it no thought, within 6-10 months, I just happened to notice that a growth on my toe, that had been there for 20 years, had literally had a wart on my hand. I asked a Dermatologist about this as well as four different Dr friends we knew from outdoor activities. They all had the same thing to say: for some reason, my immune system had gotten better. Around the same time, I also noticed that my underarm odor had changed for the better, and my mouth tasted fresher....and, the odor that my wife's feet had was virtually non-existent. They remain that way 9 yrs later too.

Had it just been me that had undergone these changes, I may not have made any connection to our diet. However, considering my wife's odor disappearance, and the timing of everything, I believe this is more than a coincidence. Whether it is fewer chemical residues on the food, a different make-up of the nutrients or structure, or a combination of those, I don't know. However, I do believe these changes took place due to our diet change. At the time, we made no other changes in our diet or lifestyle.

Something to ponder.......

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Merrell's Barefoot shoes... Oh the stink! on 07/21/2012 16:48:09 MDT Print View

This stuff works well for me:

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Merrell's Barefoot shoes... Oh the stink! on 07/21/2012 18:38:17 MDT Print View

PM sent

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Re: Re: Merrell's Barefoot shoes... Oh the stink! on 07/21/2012 23:49:22 MDT Print View

Stinky Merrells?

Put some socks on Cesar if you haven't already.

I didn't catch if you indicated wearing socks inside your Merrells or not, it seems a some Five finger and merrell wearers go sans socks, which contributes tremendously to that horrid synthetic stink.

Get yourself a pair of thin merino socks to help combat the funk.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Merrell's Barefoot shoes... Oh the stink! on 07/21/2012 23:56:08 MDT Print View

Go hard. Embrace the stink.

(I'm already married)

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Thanks for the tips on 07/22/2012 02:37:35 MDT Print View

Vivobarefoot makes some nice minimalist shoes in leather.