How to Clean Running Shoes

Although running shoes don’t require much maintenance, they can be a bit difficult to clean. You don’t have to keep them fresh; you only need to prevent the mud and sweat from ruining their best.

  • Dirt-caked soles can cause traction problems for trail runners or road runners who occasionally venture off the pavement.
  • Shoes with a perpetually dirty upper can trap dirt and grit in the fabric and mesh, making them look like sandpaper.
  • Your mojo may be affected if your shoes have a foul odor.

What you’ll need for cleaning your running shoes:

  • Soft bristles or an old toothbrush are key.
  • A hose or utility basin.
  • For uppers: a mild soap or, if the shoes have Gore-Tex(r) or another waterproof/breathable membrane, use a specialized footwear cleaner because soap or detergent additives can gum things up.
  • You can use a mild soap, a paste made of baking soda and water or a solution containing one part vinegar and two parts water for insoles.


Cleaning outsoles for running shoes

Not only are you revitalizing traction, you’re also ensuring you won’t accidentally transport an invasive species to a new area. Sole cleansing is simple:

  1. Allow the outsoles to dry completely.
  2. Give them a hard, thorough brushing. A brush with stiff bristles can be used.
  3. Use a hose to remove stubbornly clogged dirt. Rinse and scrub until the dirt is gone.

Cleaning Running Shoe Uppers

Cleaning uppers is a simple process:

  1. Take out the laces. You can place the laces in a mesh bag, and wash them on a gentle cycle.
  2. Take out the insoles/liners.
  3. You can gently clean the uppers with a brush.
  4. Use mild soap and water to scrub them (or a Gore-Tex-friendly cleaner).
  5. Use clean water to thoroughly rinse your shoes.

Do not wash your shoes in the washing machine. It can cause damage.

If you have shoes with a waterproof/breathable membrane, this is a good time to renew the fabric’s waterproofing.

Cleaning running shoe insoles

Insoles absorb a lot of sweat, creating fertile ground for the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Clean them regularly to avoid this fate:

  1. You can choose your potion. It’s up to you which one you prefer.
  2. Rinse them well and let them air dry.

Drying your running shoes

This is the easiest part of the whole process:

  • Place your shoes where there is low humidity and mild temperatures.
  • For quicker drying, use a fan.
  • To speed dry, you can stuff newspaper or paper towels inside the shoes.

Do not dry your shoes in a dryer or anywhere near heat sources. High temperatures can cause them to lose their shape and weaken their adhesives.

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