How To Clean Running Shoes

When you run wet, muddy track or ventured off-pavement, your running shoes obviously get dirty.

If you are using the running shoes without cleaning, it may result in dirt-cake soles that will ultimately reduce the traction and decreases its lifespan.

Maintaining and cleaning your shoes regularly not only makes them durable, but also keeps the odour at bay. If you are wondering how to do it, do not worry!

Here is an ultimate guide on how to clean your shoes. Follow the best practices mentioned in this article to wash them in the easiest way possible.

Let me walk you through the discussion.

Table of Contents

How to Clean Running Shoes?Step 1: To Clean The Shoe Outsoles (Bottom & Sides)

Step 2: To Clean The Uppers Of Your Running Shoes

Step 3: To Clean The Insoles Of The Running Shoes

Step 4: Drying Running Shoes

What Are The Dos and Don’ts For Washing Running Shoes?What to Do:

What not to Do:

How to Maintain Running Shoes?  Tip 1: Store shoes in a dry and clean place

Tip 2: Do not stack footwear over the shoes

Tip 3: Use shoe cleaning products for regular cleaning

Tip 4: Prefer manual cleaning over machine cleaning

Conclusion

How to Clean Running Shoes?

Running shoes are not a high maintenance task, as many presume. All it takes is regular cleaning and a little care towards them to keep them looking their best. Here is a step-by-step cleaning process to make them look afresh and brand new.

We will have to wash the different parts of the running shoes separately. Let us see how to clean each part, and the process to follow.

Let us get started with the cleaning process by removing the shoelaces and the insoles out.

Step 1: To Clean The Shoe Outsoles (Bottom & Sides)

This is all you need:

  • Mild Laundry Detergent
  • Warm Water
  • Bowl
  • Toothbrush
  • Wet sponge
  • Paper towels

Steps to follow:

As mentioned earlier, dirt-cake soles effectively reduce traction. If you want to revitalize the traction, you will have to get rid of this mud in the first place.

  • Allow the mud to dry. Once it is dry, you can easily remove it by flaking off the shoes.
  • If your running shoes are still wet and muddy at the time of cleaning, allow them to dry for about 12 hours. You can wait until the mud on the shoes becomes dry.
  • Take an old toothbrush and scrape the dry mud on the shoes. When you do this, the dry mud flakes off the shoes – Keep repeating the process until there is no mud on them.
  • Now, take a bowl and fill it with warm water.
  • Add about 15-30 ml of mild laundry detergent to the bowl and mix it together with water.
  • Take a toothbrush and dip it in this detergent solution.
  • Use this brush to scrub the soles and the heels of the shoes.
  • Focus mainly on the stained areas on your shoes and scrub those parts thoroughly.
  • Use a wet sponge to rinse the soles. You may even use paper towels instead of a sponge.
  • If you do not want to use either of those, you can simply rinse the soles under running water. This helps in removing the stuck-on dirt and cleans the sole completely.

Step 2: To Clean The Uppers Of Your Running Shoes

The next step in the process is to clean the uppers of your running shoes. Washing the uppers (the part that wraps your shoe) is majorly dependent on the type of material it consists of.

Let us look at the different cleaning methods for various materials.

Shoes made of fabric, mesh, or canvas:

If the uppers of your running shoes contain either fabric or mesh or canvas materials, this is how you should clean.

  • Take a sponge and wet it in soapy water.
  • Use this sponge to scrub the uppers of the running shoes.
  • Remember that you should not submerge them in the water, as they may damage the material.

Shoes made of suede, nubuck, or leather: 

If the uppers of your running shoes contain either suede or nubuck or leather materials, this is how you should wash them.

Never use soap or water to wash them. It can damage the material and even cause discolouration of your shoes.

Instead, use only those cleaning products that are exclusively made for these materials. Make sure you follow the instructions before cleaning them.

Let us see how to clean the uppers of your shoes in this step.

This is all you need:

  • Soft Brush
  • Mild Soap
  • Water

Steps to follow:

  • Firstly, make sure you have removed the shoelaces completely from the shoes.
  • This will help you reach those harder areas of your running shoes. You can clean the shoelaces separately.
  • Now, see if you have the inner lines removed from the shoes.
  • Depending on the material of the uppers, take a softer brush to clean. This ensures your shoe does not tear.
  • Take this brush and dip it in the mild soap and water solution.
  • Use this brush to scrub the running shoes.
  • After you finish scrubbing, rinse them thoroughly with clean water.

Step 3: To Clean The Insoles Of The Running Shoes

Let us move to the next step, i.e., cleaning the insoles of your running shoes. The insoles absorb more sweat from your feet and become a breeding ground for mould and bacteria. You have to clean them regularly to eliminate odours and bacteria growth. Let us learn how to clean them in this step.

This is all you need:

  • Baking Soda
  • Mild Soap Solution
  • Vinegar or Soapy Water
  • Water
  • Cloth
  • Bowl

Steps to follow:

  • Take a bowl and add some water and baking soda to it.
  • Add mild soap solution to this bowl and mix all of them together to form a cleaning solution.
  • If you do not have baking soda, you can use either vinegar or soapy water.
  • Take a small piece of cloth and dip it in this cleaning solution.
  • Use this cloth to scrub the insoles gently.
  • After scrubbing, rinse them properly with water.
  • Make sure you dry the insoles completely before putting them back in the shoes.
  • You can always wash the shoelaces easily. It is not a difficult task, too. Just put them inside the washing machine to clean them.

Step 4: Drying Running Shoes

This is the last step in the cleaning process. Now that you finished washing all the parts separately, it is time to dry the shoes. Make sure they are completely dry, and there is no trace of moisture inside them. The presence of even a small quantity of moisture in the shoes can become a breeding ground for mould build-up. Furthermore, it can cause irritation and itching to your feet.

Let us see how to dry the shoes:

Always keep the wet shoes under the direct sunlight for some time to dry them. This is the best solution you can ask for.

Once you notice no dripping from the running shoes, you can get them inside and dry them.

This is all you need to dry them indoors:

  • Paper Towels
  • Baking Soda

Steps to follow:

  • Take some paper towels and stuff them inside the shoes.
  • When you do this, it will allow the paper towels to absorb all the moisture inside and helps in maintaining the shape of the shoes after they become dry.
  • You can even put these shoes and their other parts under a high-speed fan for drying.
  • We recommend not putting the shoes in a dryer for drying. This will not only distort the shape of the running shoes but will also weaken their adhesives.
  • Once the shoes become completely dry, you can sprinkle some baking soda inside the shoes. This will absorb any odours or remaining moisture inside.

What Are The Dos and Don’ts For Washing Running Shoes?

When cleaning running shoes, there are certain dos and don’ts you need to follow. Let us see what you have to do and what you should not do:

What to Do:

  • Always remove the shoelaces first before you think of washing them.
  • You should always handwash your running shoes.
  • Dry your running shoes in a well-ventilated space where the sunlight reaches properly.
  • Always air dry your shoes.
  • You can wash your insoles in a washing machine only if they are machine washable.
  • Use only mild cloth cleaning solutions for cleaning your running shoes.

What not to Do:

  • Do not soak the running shoes in water, as it may damage the fabric and also adhesives.
  • Do not wash your running shoes in the washing machine.
  • Do not use bleach or other household cleaning supplies for cleaning your running shoes.
  • Do not put the shoes in a dryer for drying. Also, do not put them near any radiator or heating element to dry them. Heat may distort the shape of the shoes.

All you need is some care and maintenance to keep your running shoes in the best shape. Follow the tips mentioned above to make your shoes look their best and increase their lifespan. And, you are all set to get back on track.

How to Maintain Running Shoes?  

Cleaning shoes is one thing. But, keeping the shoes maintained on a daily basis is yet another crucial thing. If you take some time out for the regular maintenance routine of your running shoes, they will not get as dirty as before. Besides, it will be even more easier to clean them next time. If you want to retain the quality of your shoes and make them look new for a long time, there are a few things that you need to do. These will not take much time but are very effective.

Here are some essential tips that every runner should follow to keep their shoes maintained and in good shape:

Tip 1: Store shoes in a dry and clean place

You need to be a little careful when storing your shoes. There are chances of them getting dirty in the place where you store. You need to select a proper place to store your shoes where there is a minimum amount of dirt. The only you can achieve this is by having a closed shoe rack outside your home. Store your shoes in them after every use to keep them clean, free from dirt, and dry at all times.

Tip 2: Do not stack footwear over the shoes

Keeping other footwear like sandals and slippers over the running shoes induces pressure on them. Due to constant fatigue, the running shoes will lose their shape over time. Not to mention, other footwear also has a lot of dirt on its sole that will stick to the top part of your shoe. Never stack your other footwear over the running shoes.

Tip 3: Use shoe cleaning products for regular cleaning

Cleaning the shoes regularly with a simple cloth or wet cloth might not be enough, especially the running shoes. You should always use a particular shoe cleaning solution to clean them. These products must be easily available in the market. These will help you clean your shoes, making them shine and look new.

Tip 4: Prefer manual cleaning over machine cleaning

While most shoes are rigid enough to wash them directly inside a washing machine, you should try to avoid doing it as much as possible. Machine-based cleaning generally distorts the shape of the shoes and ruins them over time. Eventually, they will get loose and torn. With manual washing, you can avoid these problems.

Conclusion

Maintaining your running shoes on a regular basis will free you from the cleaning hassle that you do occasionally. It will not only keep your shoes clean but will make them look brand new. Above all, it will extend the lifespan of your shoes.

You can follow the cleaning process mentioned in this article to wash your running shoes and get the best results. Also, do not forget to follow the tips and precautions to prevent your shoes from getting damaged before their time.

Share your experiences with us if you have tried the cleaning method cited in this article. You can post them in the comments below.

Please write to us if you have any questions or if you need more information on this topic. We will try our best to answer all your queries as soon as possible.

If you think you have more inputs to add or feel that we missed out on any points, please feel free to let us know. Do not hesitate to share your feedback with us. We would love to hear your suggestions.

May you keep running for a good cause!

Stay healthy and stay safe!!!


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