Let’s face it, shoes can be one of the most unhygienic aspects of your entire wardrobe. It doesn’t matter how good the insole is, how breathable the fabric is, or how few times they’ve been worn—bacteria and odor will always find its way in. If you have an antimicrobial insole or interior, that only lasts for a certain amount of time before deteriorating and requiring an alternate method of keeping your shoes clean. It’s time to introduce you to a short list of the best UV shoe sanitizer models on the market.
Keeping your shoes sanitary helps to cut down on odor, but it does more than that: you’re preventing bacterial growth from degrading your insoles, and eventually the shoe exterior. Nullifying that bacteria also helps prevent serious conditions like athlete’s foot or fungal infections. Your feet are one of the most vulnerable entry points of your body, so let’s keep those shoes as sanitary as possible with these top notch UV sanitizers.
The Best UV Shoe Sanitizer
Kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria in 45 minutes
Received Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association
Heightened safety features ensure proper use
One size fits all shoes
SteriShoe was the brand that really turned UV sanitizers into the consumer market. With a super simple operation and a hyper effective light, this one-size-fits-all sterilizer works to eliminate bacteria that cause odors and athlete’s foot. This takes forty-five minutes to eliminate that bacteria, and emits light in an extremely controlled fashion to prevent glowing out of the shoe and damaging your eyes.
SteriShoe has received the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), and countless users have been recommended to purchase SteriShoe sanitizer directly from their podiatrists. You’ll receive a carrying and storage bag with a drawstring closure, as well as a two-use scent packet to help retain that freshness of post-UV light. Plug it in, select left, right or both, and let this do the work for you. Ideal for athlete’s with a history of fungal growth and infection as it actively eliminates bacteria that causes yellow fungus underneath your toenails, and the bacteria that is often associated with constant sore feet. Make sure you also check our guide to the best insoles.
Received Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association
100% ozone-free results
Kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria in 15 minutes
Built-in fan dries shoes to clear up retained moisture
Yes, they also took the number two spot. SteriShoe dominates the market in both areas by offering an excellent solution for slightly larger shoes, with a bit more oomph in the UV department. This system is similar to their base model, except it accelerates the sterilization process by 67%. In just fifteen minutes, your shoes could be completely sterile. Just like its predecessor model, the American Podiatric Medical Association gives this their Seal of Acceptance in assuring that you’re neutralizing as much fungus-provoking bacterial growth as possible.
You’ll kill 99.9% of all germs and bacteria in your shoes, while dually eliminating any odors that may have built up as a result of extended use. The SteriShoe+ doesn’t have that plus for nothing: there’s also a built-in fan that dries your shoes while the UV light works its magic, removing moisture from your insole, padded tongue, and anywhere else that it may be hiding. Eliminating that moisture guarantees that bacteria will have nowhere to hide while you wait to slip them on again. Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best shoe protection sprays.
Kills 99% of germs and bacterial growth in your shoes
Takes 15 minutes and automatically shuts down after cycle
Durable chassis and wiring promote longevity
It’s not the SteriShoe, but that means it doesn’t come with that price tag, either. We’ve worked to keep all of these affordable as can be, and Kendal gives the perfect budget-friendly option that still sterilizes your shoes properly. Kill 99% of germs and fungus-provoking bacteria in just fifteen minutes of use, effectively neutralizing odors along the way. This sterilizer won’t provide enough heat to remove moisture from your shoes, so it’s recommended you dry their out or le them dry before you use it.
Fully CE certified and built to last, this unit features a highly durable chassis and sturdy wiring. With many cheaper models that we did not include on this list, the tubing would falter at the entry point of each UV lamp, and eventually expose the wires underneath. Kendal will keep your shoes sanitized for years to come thanks to its long-lasting track record and simplistic operation. The best part is that after those fifteen minutes of the unit being on, it will automatically shut itself off to prevent damage to your shoes.
Adjustable settings for 15/30 minutes of use
Dries your shoes while killing bacteria
Automatic shut-off feature
USB-ready, powered by just about anything
Ozone sterilization is the most powerful way to kill bacteria, but it’s often disregarded by the EPA. Lukirch wants you to have the best power possible to neutralize bacteria, but this unit does require a bit more precaution during use. One plus is that you can plug this into just about anything—laptop, power bank, even a PlayStation 4 if there’s one nearby. Lukirch uses a very small amount of electricity to generate a consistent 65F, which dries any retained moisture in your shoes to give you a much more hospitable environment for your feet to return to. It also works as a shoe deodorizer.
You can set it to either fifteen or thirty minutes of use, and after that point, the cycle will shut off entirely. Lukirch maintains the perfect temperature to dry your shoes without causing damage or stress in rubber insoles, mesh fabric, and textiles. One of our favorite aspects of this unit is that it’s built sturdily, so you can scrunch the wire up into your backpack for a business trip without worry. Compact shoe storage, powerful UV lighting, and no more odor in your shoes. You may also like to check our guide to the best shoe stretchers.
UV Shoe Sanitizer Buying Guide
We’ve looked at quality UV shoe sanitizers, but now it’s time to find out what makes them tick. Here we’ll show you how we came to our decision on the best UV shoe sanitizers, features you should be on the lookout for, as well as operating instructions to ensure you’re getting the most out of your sanitizer.
How We Chose Our Selection Of UV Shoe Sanitizers
Quality - With something like this, quality is measurable by a variety of factors. You look at the thickness of the exterior, the power of the UV light, safe user operation, ease of use, and the life expectancy of the product. While determining quality, we were able to inspect these individual brands and take their track record of quality production, warranty fulfillment, and customer service response into consideration. A good quality UV shoe sanitizer should be able to withstand years of use. Most ultraviolet light bulbs are only able to handle so much stress and time, so having a quality sanitizer that works through the life cycle of multiple bulbs is paramount. You can get about 9,000 hours of use out of a UV bulb, so your sanitizer should last for even longer.
Reviews - User reviews help us determine the viability of purchasing and testing a product. We look for reviews on Amazon sales pages, as well as independently hosted reviews on a variety of websites to get a well-rounded perspective on the quality of the product and brand. We consider a wide range of user reviews to help us in the preliminary process while we create a shortlist of products to test, especially personal accounts and recommendations from those with nothing to gain apart from sharing their opinions and experiences.
Price - Pricing is tricky when you branch into medical technology. UV lighting is designed to improve your health, and the brands that manufacture these lights do their best to get the opinions of doctors and the support of the medical community. Prices will always dictate the sale, but we were able to find a variety of excellent UV sanitizers that don’t cost an arm and a leg. There are high-tier, nearly four-figure UV lights out there that don’t necessarily outperform inexpensive alternatives. We kept price in mind throughout this entire curation process.
Features To Look For In UV Shoe Sanitizers
Size - What shoe sizes will it accommodate? Most UV lights will fit a variety of shoe sizes, but if you have small feet, you may find that these don’t fit properly. Some manufacturers offer their UV lights in a few sizes to accommodate nearly every user. Keep your eye on the size before committing to the purchase.
Safety - All UV lamps come with some sort of safety features. These allow you to set the sanitizer to a certain level that is safe for contact with human skin. Even with these features flipped on, you want to minimize your contact with UV light as much as possible. You shouldn’t look at UV light for more than two to three seconds in an effort to minimize potential harm. These safety features work well to prevent harm, but most of that prevention relies on your capable handling.
Timer - Leaving UV light to sanitize your shoes for too long can actually cause harm. It’s a fine balance, but if you have a timer feature on your UV sanitizer, then this will take all the guesswork out for you. Set it and forget it: leave the house, go to sleep, do whatever you need to do in the meantime. These timers usually come with presets to ensure you don’t damage the interior of your shoes.
Duration - The total amount of time that the sanitizer needs to be near the unsanitary surface for it to be effective. There is a very short range of effectiveness, which is why these sanitizers fill your shoes and why you need to purchase different sizes for different size shoes. As much as half an inch of space can drastically reduce how effective a UV sanitizer is, which is why most uses of a UV light are between ten and twenty minutes to accurately clean your shoes.
Ozone Sterilization - Ozone sterilization is the totalitarian category of sanitizing. This is the manipulation of the most effective sanitization method on a small scale. Most ozone machines are full enclosures, but some of the same effects can be replicated with covers or bags that many UV sanitizers include with your purchase. Ozone, the sterilizing agent, has been used to disinfect drinking water but is now being used in other fields as the strongest antimicrobial method of sanitization that we’ve ever had.
Bulbs - When you buy new UV bulbs, they’re built to last for about 9,000 hours before burning out. The ones that are included in your purchase are designed to demonstrate the full power of the UV sanitizer, and can usually be counted on for about half as many hours. Since the bulb is usually pre-installed in the sanitizer, you can’t predict how much stress or testing it has gone through. We recommend grabbing one or two additional UV bulbs with your purchase so you’re never left without your sanitizer in the future.
How To Use A UV Shoe Sanitizer
UV sanitizers are very simple to use, and extremely effective when operated properly. We’re going to walk you through usage from start to finish.
- Empty your shoes of debris. UV light will kill bacterial buildup, but if there’s lint or bits of a torn insole, there will be shadows cast on sections of the interior and your shoes won’t be fully sanitized.
- Place your sanitizers in the shoes, following the directions as instructed. Due to the positioning of some UV sanitizers, they may require closer contact with the insole or toe box. Pay special attention to the requirements so you can be assured that all bacteria have been neutralized after the timer goes off.
- Turn the sanitizer on, and set the timer. You’ll also have additional instructions on how to properly time your sanitization so that you don’t damage your shoes. Most sanitizers are built for ten to twenty minutes of use, though smaller units can require up to forty-five minutes or more. Since the lifespan of your unit and light bulb is very long, the length of time required will not impact the quality of your sanitizer, it just ensures a thorough sanitizing process.
- Make sure that you can’t see the light emitting from the shoes. If you can see a glow through the fabric (common with synthetics, textiles, runner shoes, etc.), that is okay. The strength of the light will be diluted and won’t cause you any harm. If you have pets, you’ll want to keep the door closed and make sure they can’t enter the room to avoid damaging their eyes from prolonged contact.
- Turn off your sanitizer, and allow ten to twenty seconds before removing them from the shoes. Return them to their proper storage to prevent damages, and your shoes are good to go. There will be a noticeable drop-off in terms of odor and firmness of your insoles. Your shoe sanitizers have done their job.