Smelliest Sports, Ranked

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Which sport produces the worst smelling athletes when all is said and done? Thinking Hockey has to be #1. Ever smell a hockey bag? Don’t, you’ll throw up in it.

That’s it,


Steve, my friend, there are truly no winners in this game. Sports are smelly, and you’d better get used to it! You do have one thing right—hockey players are the smelliest guys around. As for the others, well, let’s dive right in:

  1. Hockey: There is no contest here. More equipment = more smells. There is also something especially foul about sweating in a cold environment. Deadspin’s Samer Kalaf, a famously known “hockey head,” has confirmed this to be true and adds the following: “As someone who has been in college hockey locker rooms and talked to players, hockey is definitely the smelliest.”
  2. Football: This one should really be somewhere further down the list, just to put a safe distance between it and hockey. (That’s how smelly hockey is!) However, football requires a lot of pads and spandex, and all that body sweat is soaking into it all. Your body can’t breathe in that stuff, can it? The thought diving nose-first into a sweat-soaked football helmet makes me want to dive head-first into the toilet.
  3. Soccer: Mud, fertilizer, grass, and sweat all combine to brew some ripe-smelling people. I would not want to get up close and personal with a shin guard.
  4. Boxing: I once took a class that was like boxing’s SoulCycle equivalent—Boxing for Betches, if you will. Anyway, we had to wear these sweat-guard wraps around our hands, and afterwards my hands smelled like they had been sitting in a ripening garbage pile. Who knew that hands could smell as bad as feet?!
  5. Field hockey: Lots of sweat, lots of grass. Similar to soccer in the smell department.
  6. Wrestling: Consider how closely singlets must hug the balls, and then consider the very special musk that comes with that.
  7. Skiing/Snowboarding: Have you ever smelled the inside of a ski boot? Not great! Also, all the layers required in skiing really produces a lot of cold sweat that gets trapped behind multiple layers of clothing. Gross.
  8. Lacrosse: Shiny, well-groomed LAX bros are too delicate to handle smelling bad for extended periods of time, which is the only reason that this sport is lower on the list than field hockey. Otherwise you’ve got all the same elements—mud, sweat, shoes, shins, etc.
  9. Baseball: The game of baseball can be very sweaty, particularly if you are in Florida or Texas. But let’s be real, some baseball guys just stand there and don’t really do anything, and even the running happens in short bursts. America’s pastime is about as interesting as it is sweaty. (Not very.)
  10. Competitive hot dog eating: Have you ever watched the competition at Nathan’s on the Fourth of July? I would not want to make out with Joey Chestnut after he clenched the win.
  11. Basketball: Not the smelliest, they’ve got loose shorts and cut-offs to play in, so there’s plenty of airing out. That said, I would not want to handle a pair of socks after the fourth quarter.
  12. Track and field: About the same as basketball, but played for a shorter amount of time.
  13. Being hit by a car.
  14. Golf: Sure, golfers can get sneakily sweaty standing out on a sunny course, but let’s not kid ourselves, there’s not a lot of exertion going on there. But pro golfers don’t get to chill out in a golf cart! We get it! Golf is a sport! Who cares.

Leslie Horn is currently a writer at Vocativ, but will always be an Adequate Woman at heart.

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