Saturday, February 9, 2013

Stink, Stank, Stunk

With apologies to The Grinch who Stole Christmas for the title.

One of the women in class showed up the other week with brand new slippers. Aside from having become rather ratty with wear and age, she explained that the old ones had begun to smell. She'd even taken to keeping them in a plastic bag when not wearing them, but they'd just gotten too pungent.

Well... erm... is this a common problem? I'd noticed many of those who showed up for the SAB auditions had their shoes bagged, but I don't know if that was because they smelled or just to keep them clean before an important appearance. I wouldn't expect bagging shoes to do anything but make them smell worse, as they wouldn't have a chance to air out (and I think the bacteria that makes the smell is anaerobic).

I keep my slippers in my open dance bag so I don't mislay them. Open because the bag is not breathable, as I discovered by forgetting to take out my wet shirt and tights when I got home after class. A couple of days later they were still wet and reeked! But with the bag open and empty of all but slippers and socks, I've not noticed any odor from the shoes even after 3-4 hours of wear a week for almost two years.

Would it make a difference that mine are canvas and hers leather? The instructor that day opined that leather shoes lasted longer but couldn't be washed, while canvas could be but often shrank when washed.

In closing, I'd like to thank the person who found my blog using the search keywords "smell ballet feet" for indirectly reminding me that I'd wanted to post this question. I'm not sure if the searcher is looking for a cure or has a rather odd fetish and I'm pretty sure I don't need to know.


  1. A mesh bag (I always kept mine tied to the outside of my main dance bag) allows the shoes to breathe. The fact that you mention socks in your dance bag does give one idea. Socks tend to soak up the stink-causing sweat more than just tights (or bare feet). Perhaps your socks are saving your ballet shoes!

    1. A mesh bag makes a lot more sense than keeping them sealed in a plastic bag.

      The shoes I wear most, though, (black canvas Capezio Cobras) I don't wear with socks. I wear them over my tights. The socks go with the white canvas Romeos, which turned out to be too small to be comfortable and are in my bag primarily as backup.


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