Why do sports shoes stink of cat piss?


Legendary Member
Serious question. My days of running in Nikes are well over as after a while, they stink of cat piss. Well we never had a cat then so it wasn't near us where I was picking up the Dame Judy. It was demonstrated that Nike use urea as a bonding agent in the EVA in the midsole. Solution? Simple, don't buy any more Nikes, throw out the ones I had.

But now I have an unanswerable question. I have some Shimano cycling shoes and they stink, I mean absolutely REEK of cat piss. My wife won't have them near the house but it can't be the midsole as they are clipless with a carbon-fibre sole. And we don't have a cat, I don't touch the ground with the soles of the shoe so can anyone shed any light on this problem?

Has anyone else noticed this happening with their midsole-less cycling shoes?

Dave Davenport

Legendary Member
Mine (Specialized) are drying out in the greenhouse 'cos they were stinking the house out.


Velo, boulot, dodo
Cycling shoes -especially if they get a regular soaking- do get like this. Periodically I soak mine in milton solution, rinse, stuff with newspaper and allow to dry (preferably outside but lately the the weather has been somewhat Welsh so I haven't been able to do this).


Legendary Member
There must be something in the inner layer of the soles, which looks like cardboard to me, that breaks down to release amines, these are the typical fishy catty smell. Nitriles can be reduced to produce amines. Also human sweat contains ammonia and urea, which can cause some pretty bad odours especially if you've got athlete's foot. Washing with a mild bleach like Milton is probably the best option. I always remove the insoles to allow the soles to dry out thoroughly and occasionally I spray all my footwear with an athlete's foot fungicide spray.


<<<<< her to the left (see avatar pic) looks all innocent and says she didn't do it.
Grangers odour eliminator did a good job of removing pong.


Puzzle game procrastinator!
Oh - that reminds me that I forgot to dry my cycling shoes properly after my last ride which was a wet one on my MTB. At least I hosed the mud off them and removed the insoles, but they will still be pretty stinky. I suppose I should try and fumigate them before Sunday's forum ride ... :whistle:


Dog slobber smells better anyways:whistle:


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester
Worth investing in some really good overshoes - e.g. waterproof ones. The regular soaking causes the terrible smell. Good overshoes, and if the rain is really bad, I use over trousers to stop the rain getting down the top of the overshoe.

Makes a huge difference. My commute shoes are 3 years old and don't smell. Getting them dry quickly also helps.

You don't tend to get hot sweaty feet in cycling shoes, like with trainers, due to the venting, so in dry weather it's not an issue. I hate trainers as they don't half smell.

sdr gb

Falling apart
When my cycling shoes get a bit stinky, I give the insides a generous dusting of bi-carb soda. Leave overnight, ideally 24 hrs. Empty the shoe of the powder and the smell has gone.
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