October 06, 2020
How do I clean my running shoes?
Washing your running shoes is not just a question of aesthetics. It’s also about hygiene and durability. In this article we’ll give you some practical advice.
Follow these steps for cleaning:
Duration: less than 10 minutes
Materials: a sink or basin with a water tap, a soft brush, and a disinfectant spray and re-waterproofing product if needed.
- If your running shoes are really dirty remove as much of the mud and dirt as soon as possible by rinsing them off, for example, with an outdoor water tap or in a stream. It’s easiest to clean off the mud while it’s still fresh. It also helps to knock the soles together, first while holding your shoes by the heels and then by the front.
When you’re back at home:
- Remove the insoles from your shoes, rinse them and let them dry in a well-ventilated area.
- Loosen the laces or Quick Lace.
- Rinse your shoes by passing them under some running water. Use a soft brush or a sponge to help remove the mud and dirt if necessary.
- If your shoes have a Gore-Tex type membrane, you can re-waterproof the exterior fabric with a spray or pad that’s made for this. In both cases, follow the instructions included with the product to know at which point during the cleaning process to apply the treatment to your running shoes.
- After washing your shoes, proper drying is essential! Leave your shoes in a well-ventilated room at room temperature. Do not expose them to direct sunlight or put them near a heat source like a radiator.
- Here’s a tip for speeding up the drying process: fill the inside of your shoes with newspaper.
- Make sure your shoes are completely dry before putting the insoles back in and re-lacing them.
- If your shoes still smell bad, hit the insides with a blast of disinfectant, anti-odor spray.
Never use a washing machine or any kind of washing powder or soap to clean your shoes because this can damage your running shoes.
Between running sessions, store your shoes in the open air (never in a plastic sac) in a dry, well-ventilated area that is protected from the sun and … rodents! ;-)
How often should I clean my shoes?
After each run:
- Remove the insoles from your shoes.
- Leave your shoes in the open air in a dry, well-ventilated area.
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After running in the mud (which often happens on trail runs) or as soon as your shoes seem dirty:
- Remove as much mud as possible before they dry.
- Clean with water as described above.
- And once again, remember to let them dry!
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Why do I need to clean my shoes?
Cleaning your running shoes (like all your sneakers) is an important part of taking care of your gear so that it lasts longer. For example, dried mud forms a crust that makes the outer material rigid. This makes the material wear out more quickly in places where it creases. Dirt will also penetrate the fibers of the material, which causes mechanical wear.
Perspiration from your feet creates a humid environment that facilitates the proliferation of bacteria. This results in bad odors that can quickly become unpleasant, or even unbearable. However, airing out your shoes after each run is usually enough to keep bad smells to a minimum.
Storing my running shoes
At the end of the season – or if you don’t plan to use your shoes for several months – rinse them out and let them dry completely.
Remove the insole from each shoe and store them in an open-air place that’s protected from humidity and sunlight. Don’t put them in a plastic sack or sealed box! Also keep them out of poorly ventilated cupboards, drawers or sports bags.
And the final piece of advice for keeping your shoes clean is to wear clean socks every time you go for a run. And whenever you go for a run you should only use shoes that are designed specifically for running and not your everyday sneakers. This will give them time to completely dry and allow the foam to regain its properties from one session to the next.