The 2Toms Stink Free Shoe and Gear Spray is designed to neutralise rather than simply mask those nasty niffs that can render kit socially unacceptable. Given that most decent riding attire is either impregnated with anti-bacterials or can be machine washed, Stink Free's appeal is limited, but I have found it surprisingly useful for purging the pong from shoes and sandals, especially synthetics...
2Toms promises us its Stink Free Shoe and Gear Spray is genuinely safe on all surfaces, including Gore-Tex and similar technical fabrics. It's also refreshingly candid about the ingredients. Thus far, I've had no problems on either front.
There's nothing particularly cutting edge ingredients-wise – benzalkonium chloride and cetrimonium bromide actively gobble up the bacteria that feeds on our feted, sweaty kit and, if left unchecked, leads to athletes' foot and nastier fungal infections.
Most riding kit these days can be bunged in the machine at 30 degrees but there are always exceptions, and my collection of budget and mid-range synthetic shoes seemed perfect candidates. My world weary Shimano touring sandals were rancid to the point they could strip wallpaper! And after four years and several mucky winters, my Specialized and Shimano RT82 examples weren't far behind.
Being a pump-spray bottle, it's easy and economical to apply. Round up your scuzzy stuff and give it a liberal coating from 10-15cm and leave to dry – ideally overnight.
My sandals needed to be saturated – three applications and left curing for a total of 16 hours – but to my surprise, they were returned to a socially acceptable state, with no sign of residue. It's tamed a few canvas tennis shoes and leather motorcycle gloves with similar ease.
The 8oz pump spray bottle also slips quite unobtrusively into most panniers, so could prove a boon for touring, where washing machines and other mod cons could be trickier to come by. Several weeks in and my shoes still smell sweet – and I've used surprisingly little product, suggesting a little goes a decent distance.
I have some minor reservations about benzalkonium chloride. Like many other biocides, long-term exposure has been linked to organ toxicity, though more commonly results in rashes and blistering. In the right quantities, though, most chemicals can be considered safe. Personally, I prefer a more natural solution, where possible.
Effective odour taming spray that lasts
road.cc test report
Make and model: 2Toms Stink Free Shoe and Gear Spray
Size tested: 8oz/237ml
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
2Toms says: "Stink Free® Spray is guaranteed to remove, not mask, all odors caused by sweat left in your shoes, boots, gear, gym bags, pads/guards, gloves, lockers, etc. Stink Free Spray has no perfume in it's formula, therefore it leaves behind no smell once dry.
Why Is Stink Free Spray Different?
Our technically advanced formula cleans the pores that trap the odor in shoes and gear. Stink Free Spray has no perfume in it's formula, therefore it leaves behind no smell once dry. Stink Free Spray is safe to use on canvas, leather, satin, and denim shoes. * Contains no perfume or phosphates * Safe on all high performance fabrics * Residue free * Removes sweat stains * Environmentally friendly."
Does a good job of purging nasty odours from shoes and other kit.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Water, Benzalkonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Bromide, Propylene Glycol
Judging by my long-suffering, high-mileage shoes, a little goes a long way and lasts a decent while.
Straightforward to apply and no irritation or similar side-effects to date.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Stink Free Spray has been a pleasant surprise, neutralising nasty niffs and keeping them firmly at bay. I've not needed to reapply, although obviously, the height of summer or more tropical contexts may say different.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Straightforward to apply and long lasting so far.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
While I wouldn't get overly neurotic about these things, I prefer essential oils to biocides such as benzalkonium chloride.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Worth a look for shoes and kit that cannot be machine washed.
Use this box to explain your score
Does what it says in the blurb and very capably, though may not be the best choice for people with sensitive skin.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)