Sunday, September 9, 2012

Getting the Skunk Out out of Vibram FiveFingers

While I hate to make my first post about something so, well, smelly, I do think that this is something anyone who runs regularly (particularly those of us of the minimal shoe persuasion) has to consider: how the heck do I get the heinously offensive and downright pervasive odor out of these shoes? In this case, the offending shoes were pair of Vibram FiveFingers Speeds, and my latest internet provided magic remedy was Efferdent (technically the Walmart brand equivalent). Yep, denture cleaner. I Googled and found someone else who had tried it here, but modified the instructions a bit when I tried it:

  1. Filled a bucket big enough to completely submerge the shoes with warm water
  2. Dropped a tablet in each shoe and dunked them until they were soaked enough to sink
  3. Snickered about the little bubbles coming out of the laces holes (note: optional, requires VFFs with laces holes)
  4. Set the shoe stew on the back porch for 30 minutes
  5. Drained, then filled the bucket back up with cold water for hand rinsing
  6. Ran the shoes through a rinse/spin cycle in the wash
  7. Let dry overnight

VFF Speeds are actually marketed as the most normal looking of the VFF lineup. While I certainly have run in them before and don't really have a problem doing so, the idea is that these are the VFFs you wear to work on casual Friday. They still don't look "normal" compared to most other shoes, but perhaps more than I should have been, I was somewhat worried that the Efferdent would bleach, fade, or otherwise compromise the looks of the shoes. I'm happy to say that if anything, they look cleaner and uncompromised. The fit and feel inside doesn't seem to be altered either.

The intial visual signs were promising, but this was about kicking that awful skunk. It had been so bad that I was ordered to keep them in the basement or on the back porch. How would they stand up to the third trimester expectant wife's nose test?

Answer: I can keep them on the steps with the rest of our shoes now.

No, they don't smell like a trip to Bath and Body Works, but they don't smell absolutely horrible like they did before either. Come to think of it, they don't even really smell like much at all. I washed them with the rest of my running clothes, and all I can really sniff out is a faint scent of Gain detergent. I haven't run in these since I attempted this, so I don't know how long it will take for the skunk to return. However, as cheap and apparently effective as Efferdent is, I don't think I really care.