How to wash running shoes the right way?

I know that on this site before we have covered how to wash running shoes in the past but in this blogpost we will be focusing on how to make your shoes look as good as new alongside exactly why cleaning your running shoes is so important.

As a runner with over a decade of experience I know first hand why cleaning your running shoes is very important. It can increase the life of your running shoes as well as ensuring that your shoes maintain their best shape. Good cleaning is something that I believe to be very important in the life of a runner.

How to wash running shoe the wrong way?

Two Test Tubes

As I have mentioned before on this site I think there is one way that running shoes should be cleaned. I am not going talk about washing machines this time but I will talk about the use if very harsh chemicals such as strong detergents or hydrogen peroxide.

I do however always recommend the use of cleaning supplies as they do make for a better clean but you need to be careful. I think that choosing anything harsher than mild detergent is a risk not worth taking. Doing so could lead to damage to the foam on the outsole of your shoe.

Obviously you should never even think about cleaning your shoes in the washing machine or tumble dryer. Machine washing is a big red flag when it comes to cleaning running shoes. This will destroy the synthetic fibre of the shoes and can greatly reduce the lifespan of the shoes.

The reasons behind keeping your shoes clean

I mentioned in the intro that keeping your shoes clean is an important thing to do that has benefits of both your shoes and your own bank balance.

Prolonging the shoes lifespan

A Man with a Wristwatch

Keeping your shoes free of mud and all that other stuff that accumulates on the shoe when you run. In the long-term getting rid of all that excess moisture and dirt will allow your shoes to keep their structure and equally importantly preserve the bounce of the foam.

Not only will having constantly clean running shoes preserve the performance capabilities of your running shoes but it will allow the colour of the shoes to stay bright and vibrant. This leads onto our next point regarding respect for kit.

Having respect for your kit

I know it might sound slightly strange but putting time and effort into somthing with make you respect it more. It makes sense when you come to think about it and having more respect for your shoes will have benefits in other aspects of the shoe care routine.

I know that this reason alone will probably not ensure that you consistently clean your shoes but it is definitely worth keeping in mind when you are thinking about cleaning your shoes. I also think that part of knowing how to wash running shoes is knowing why washing the shoes is important.

Oder Control

As a runner at a point I came to accept the fact that my shoes were going to stink. After doing extensive research for this blogpost I realised that it doesn’t have to be that way.

It turns out that regular cleaning will keep that horrible smell that old shoes give off under control. This could be amplified by using cleaning products that smell nice. In fact I think that part of having clean shoes is having shoes that actually smell good so it would be a good idea to use nice smelling cleaning supplies.

General Hygiene

It is no secret that having muddy shoes is not hygienic. There are all sorts of bacteria that lurk in old and sweety shoes so it is a good idea to clean it just like you would any other item of clothing.

When you come to think about it you would never use a tea-shirt multiple times without cleaning it in any way so why would you do the same with running shoes.

So how to wash running shoes in just five easy steps

Brown Pants and Black Shoe Hanging on Red Metal Rack

Step 1: prepare your kit and area

Make sure you are on a semi hard surface that is mud free where you can concentrate on just give it a good scrub until you get clean shoes. You will need the following:

  • A soft brush, scrubbing brush or an old toothbrush: a wet paper towel won’t work neither will a soft cloth
  • A small bowl of hot water
  • A few drops of detergent
  • A dry paper towel or two

Just a quick note on the detergent make sure that it a mild detergent like water down fairy liquid or hand soap otherwise it could harm the exterior of your shoe.

Step 2: Start Scrubbing

I know that this sounds very easy and it is but there is still a right and wrong way to do this. Pick a part of the shoes that you want to start from and then work around slowly and methodically. Rinse your brush regularly in the soapy water.

Make sure to clean the mesh well cause that is where the mud won’t just flake away naturally. If left un kept the mud will stay on the mesh for ages leaving your shoes looking full of grime despite your best efforts later down the line.

Once you have worked your way around the hole shoes ensuring to get rid of all the larger chunks of dried on mud you are likely to have dirty water which leads us onto the next step.

Step 3: Clean your water

Fluid Pouring in Pint Glass

Once you have completed one shoe move onto the next one but before you do you will want to change your water. To clean effectively we will need to use clean water. If you use dirty water you are wasting your time. The stains will stay there and your footwear will look filthy.

For this reason next time you are cleaning your shoes change the water half way through the cleaning process. The same rules apply.

Make sure the cleaning solution is made up of warm water and don’t bother wasting your time adding baking soda or white vinegar. Soap will do the job just fin and remember no cold water.

Step 4: Start scrubbing again

There isn’t really much to say hear. Just repeat exactly what is said in step two. It simple.

Step 5: Finish up

I am sure that most of you like me like to run in dry shoes. By this point you have gone from muddy shoes to clean shoes that are wet. If your shoes are wet they will take a couple of days to dry. If like me your run almost every day this is just isn’t an option.

For that reason you will want to dry the shoes. Doing this is even easier than cleaning the shoes in the first place. This is the part of the process that using the paper towel.

Open the shoe laces and then stuff the shoes with the paper towel. After that put them under the radiator and the leave them there until your next run. If you don’t have a radiator or don’t want to put your shoes there then placing them in direct sunlight or next to a heat source are also good options. In my opinion doing this is the best way to move into your nest session with nice dry and maybe even warm running shoes.

My Own cleaning routine

Don’t worry guys, I do actually practise what I preach in the sense that I actually clean my running shoes. I make sure to avoid high temperature water full of tough cleaning detergents that are bound to damage the synthetic fibres that makes up any pair of modern running shoes.

Right now I am not training for a marathon for a marathon but I am doing a lot of running. I am currently running in some Asics neutral running shoes. I have always been a runner who has run in these types of shoes. I have recently been focusing on keeping the insole clean.


"Conclusion" Word Formed From Lettered Yellow Tiles

To conclude I think that keeping the inside of the shoe clean is just as important as keeping the outsole clean. To improve the lifespan of the shoes and get proper cash value you should never put your running shoes in a dryer or use harsh chemicals that could damage the polyester of the shoe. On the whole I think it is definitely a worth while thing to get into for the sake of your shoe and your running as a whole.

Before I finish of I just want to mention that this blogpost was written after many hours of research as well as my own decade of experience as a competitive runner and triathlete. I hope that you have enjoyed this blogpost and if you have the team at would really appritiete it if you liked this post or maybe even gave it a share of social media.

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