Published on: 11/11/2022
Stinky shoes are not exclusively a climbing problem. Offensive-smelling footwear is an issue in all high-intensity sports and activities. But rock climbing presents some unique opportunities for things to get fruity.
For one thing, a lot of climbers don’t wear socks under their rock shoes. This means sweat is absorbed by the shoe’s sole and upper. These damp conditions are ideal for creating fruity feet. To make things worse, some climbers (not all!) throw their climbing shoes into their gym bag after a session or toss them in the back of their cold car overnight.
Boot Bananas Original shoe Deodorisers are an odor solution containing triple-action active ingredients. Created by a climber and with plenty of positive reviews online, we thought we’d take a look…
What are Boot Bananas?
Boot Bananas are moisture-absorbing shoe deodorizers designed to combat bad smells, deal with the bacteria that cause them, and absorb the moisture that encourages those bacteria to grow. Their creators, Alex and Phil, had just moved into their first flat together when it became apparent that Phil’s climbing shoes were a problem.
Unsatisfied with the commercially available solutions, the couple came up with their own. They experiment with different ingredients, and Alex put her skills as a model maker to create the iconic-looking banana design.
How do they Work?
The product comes in a zip lock packaging containing two bananas, held together with a carabiner clip. To use them, simply insert one banana into each shoe. The moisture-absorbent materials deal with lingering foot sweat, while the essential oils mask any unpleasantness.
The active ingredients comprise salts, minerals, bamboo charcoal, and essential oils. This represents a three-pronged attack on the smell. Bamboo charcoal has an incredibly porous structure, meaning a small quantity has a large surface area. This makes it excellent at absorbing moisture and smell.
Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, is included for the same reason. This household compound is used in cooking and cleaning but also has excellent odor-absorbing properties. It also helps to neutralize odor once it’s been absorbed.
The volcanic mineral zeolite has a variety of applications in the medical, industrial, construction, and even nuclear fields. But it, too, is an excellent absorbing agent. It is an ingredient in kitty litter for this reason, where it works to quickly limit odors. Its inclusion in the Boot Bananas further promotes the absorption of odors and the moisture that causes them.
Three kinds of essential oils are also present. Tea tree essential oils are used in alternative and traditional medicines. The oil is believed to be effective in treating bacteria, viruses, and fungi in these practices. Crucially, tea tree oil also smells great.
Lavender is another potent-smelling oil that is believed to have antiseptic and relaxing properties. Lemon oil is the final ingredient. It adds a fresh scent to the mix and is also thought to have antibacterial properties. Like real bananas, these boot bananas turn brown as they age and absorb moisture. This gives users a visual indication as to when they need to buy a new pair. Drying the products out between uses extends their lifespan. This can be done in the sun or on a radiator.
Are they Sustainable?
Thankfully, all the ingredients of Boot Bananas Original Shoe Deodorisers are sustainable. Their fragrance uses essential oils. These are plant extracts without chemicals. The most hazardous thing here – the mixture might contain a few sharp lavender stems.
The moisture and odor absorption is achieved using bamboo charcoal, baking soda, and zeolite. These naturally absorbent salts, minerals, and organic matter are renewable choices. The bananas’ soft cotton, in addition to its natural antimicrobial properties, is biodegradable, making this product an eco-conscious design.
Do they Work?
In our experience, this product makes a significant improvement to bad-smelling kicks. The addition of activated charcoal, baking soda, and zeolite allows Boot Bananas to eliminate rather than mask smells. And by gently drying out the fabric of the shoe, they also help prevent odor from developing.
Note: these are not designed for rapidly drying rock boots/climbing boots that have soaked through from hiking. Boot bananas do sell a winter-drying product containing silica for that purpose.
These can help to revive an old pair of climbing shoes that have gone nuclear. The odor might not be completely eliminated. But you’ll no longer be receiving dirty looks from across the street. But for optimum performance, incorporate them into your new shoe care routine before your shoes stink. Preventing the bacteria from developing in the first place will keep your shoes fresh longer. But that lingering damp smell that’s particularly common in synthetic shoes is significantly reduced by the bananas – even in the gnarliest of shoes (like those accidentally left in a bag!). These guys definitely work. And they do so using plant extracts, salts, and minerals instead of synthetic chemicals.
How Long do they Last?
The Boot Bananas Original Shoe Deodorisers website suggests an average deodorizing lifespan of 6-12 months with proper care. The moisture-absorbing compounds are refreshed by drying out the banana. With proper banana care, a shoe enthusiast looking to keep their favorite pair of casual shoes fresh could get much more than the twelve months suggested. Either way, you’ll know the product needs to be replaced when it has turned slightly brown.
How Much Moisture?
They’ll also remain effective longer if you don’t use them immediately after a hard training session. Common sense dictates that the more moisture they absorb, the sooner they stop functioning (and turn brown). Use the bananas after your shoes dry in the breeze for optimum performance. Let the product deal with the moisture locked away in the fabric – not the heavy stuff present immediately after exercise.
High-frequency use will also net you a shorter functional use for your Boot Bananas Original Shoe Deodorisers. But they’re designed for the funkiest of feet. Barefoot shoes worn during intense exercise need some kind of treatment for odor. The same is true of running shoes and climbing shoes. Our estimation suggests these are more effective than the alternatives and offer similar value for money. If you’ve tried everything else and your husband/wife/partner/flatmates are still complaining – the bananas are worth a look.
Lysol/Other Deodorising Spray
These sprays certainly do something. In addition to masking the smell with deodorant, these products also contain ethanol. This kills the bacteria causing the smell – or at least most of it. There are a few drawbacks to this solution. For one thing, it’s an aerosol using chemical scents. This is a bad combination if you or your housemates suffer from allergies or breathing problems. And like the banana solution, it works best if applied to new shoes before the stink has a chance to develop. Some people put their shoes in the freezer after applying Lysol. The idea is that the extreme cold will kill any bacteria the spray missed. Either way – it feels like more of a hassle than placing a banana in each shoe.
Talcum Powder/Foot Powder
This seems like a good idea at first. The talc absorbs sweat, stopping it from soaking into the sole and upper of your climbing shoe. There is a problem with this solution, however. After some activity, the sweat and powder combine to make a paste. This can cause the shoe to feel slippery against the skin – not ideal for a climbing shoe. It’s also possible for the sweat and compounds in the powder to mix together to form a solution that damages the textiles in your shoes.
Should you Get it?
Boot Bananas Original Shoe Deodorisers will absolutely improve the smell of any haggard climbing shoe. They are highly effective on motorcycle boots, running shoes, and climbing shoes. They also make the perfect gift for someone in your house with problem feet. Somehow, these bright original shoe deodorizers in their wonderful breathable fabric feel like less offensive a gift than a can of Lysol. They smell good, are perfect for shoes worn without socks, and come with a carabiner clip and zip-lock bag to store for future use. Recommended.
Reference: Banana Boots’ official site