Ballet flats, the era-defining Gossip Girl-esque shoes, have returned in a big way, and have become the shoe of choice for influencers like Hailey Beiber and Matilda Djerf.
But for those of us who donned the shoes the first time around, we all know there’s a darker sider to these delicate pumps… they stink.
Yes, they look cute, but no matter how squeaky-clean your toes are, there’s something about these trendy shoes that leave your feet smelling less than fresh after wearing them all day.
Due to ballet flats’ lack of ventilation and flat sole, sweat build-up can create a very un-chic smell.
But never fear: you can look stylish, without the scent.
Cleaning expert, Lucy Rebecca, says: ‘Ballet flats can tend to hold odour when you’ve worn them for a while so if you wear them often, I would recommend wiping them down once a week with a mix of 50/50 part water, part white vinegar,’ she said.
‘Don’t soak the ballet flat as this can cause smells, only make the cloth damp not wet. Allow the ballet flat to dry fully before wearing.’
She also suggests a trick using a common kitchen cupboard ingredient. ‘If in doubt, put a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda inside them once a week,’ she said. ‘Leave it to sit for a few hours or preferably overnight if you can and then empty it out of the shoe before you wear them.’
But, Lucy adds, the most important thing is keeping your feet clean. ‘Spray your feet with some deodorant before wearing the shoes.
‘You can also try putting some talcum powder on the soles of your feet before you wear your ballet flats.’
Alison Eager is a ballet dancer and teacher, so knows a thing or two about keeping her shoes smelling clean.
She has some simple, yet effective, hacks. ‘I always air out my flats after wear, perhaps in a well ventilated room or by a window,’ said Alison.
‘You can also pop the peel of a citrus fruit such as a lemon peel into the shoes overnight and this works like magic!’
Meanwhile, Lucy added that there are certain areas you should absolutely avoid storing your ballet flats in: ‘Do not store your ballet flats in a bag or in a cupboard or drawer where bacteria can grow as this can cause mould and make odours worse,’ she warned.
Ballet flats worn with socks are the way to update those 00s shoes for 2023 – and this too can help with odours.
But Lucy worns: ‘Wash the sock before wearing it as the odours can stick to the sock, potentially making the shoe smell when reworn.’
Alison agrees: ‘Socks will help absorb moisture and sweat so this doesn’t sit on the shoe lining.’