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How to clean your running shoes


Everybody knows the unbeatable feeling of a brand-new pair of running shoes. Not only do they feel amazing, but they look amazing as well. However, running shoes will inevitably get dirty over time. Did you know that regular cleaning can not only help your shoes look fresher for longer but also help extend their lifespan? Discover the best way to wash your running shoes, and how often you should clean them. 
First things first, we recommend trying to avoid putting your running shoes in the washing machine or dryer as much as you can. We understand that the convenience is tempting, but here is why you should avoid putting your running shoes in the washing machine or dryer. 
The main risk you take by utilising a washing machine or dryer to clean your running shoes is the risk of damage to the premium materials your favourite brands use. The foams, mesh, and rubbers are not designed to withstand the excessive force, friction and spinning of a washing machine. The results of this include:

  • Alteration to the fit and performance of your shoe 
    Excessive heat from the dryer can cause the mesh upper to shrink, making our shoes too tight and, therefore unwearable. Excessive moisture from the washing machine can cause the mesh to expand, leading to a lack of essential support required when running. The high-speed spinning of both the washing machine and dryer can displace the materials inside your shoe, causing a decrease in cushioning. 
  • Delamination
    High heat can cause irreparable damage to the glue utilised to construct your running shoes. The damage to this glue can cause delamination where the outsole separates from the midsole. Instead, look at utilising old newspapers to dry your shoes. Start by placing the crumpled newspaper inside your shoes, then wrap your shoes with a dry towel. Keep your shoes in a dry and well-ventilated area.  


Before we get started cleaning, here’s everything you’ll need: 

  • Your favourite pair of running shoes 
  • An old toothbrush 
  • A mild detergent 
  • A clean cloth 
  • A bucket of warm water 
  • A clean towel 

Step 1: Remove the shoelaces and sockliners. 

Begin the cleaning process by removing the shoelaces and sockliners from your running shoes. Removing the shoelaces makes it easier to clean the tongue of the shoes. Remove the sockliners to avoid ruining the fabric. 

Step 2: Remove excess dirt and debris. 

Once the shoelaces and sockliners are removed, remove any loose dirt or debris by using your old toothbrush to gently scrub your running shoes. Be sure to go over areas where dirt tends to accumulate, such as the flex grooves in the outsole. 

Step 3: Prepare your cleaning solution. 

Fill your bucket or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or harsher chemicals, as they can cause irreversible damage to the materials of your running shoes. Create a soapy solution by thoroughly mixing the detergent in the water. 

Step 4: Clean the upper. 

Dip your clean cloth into your soapy solution and start gently scrubbing the uppers of your running shoes. Use small circular motions to remove stains and dirt. Ensure you don’t use excessive force, as this can damage or tear the mesh. For stains that won’t go away, try an old toothbrush to gently scrub the affected areas. 

Step 5: Clean the shoelaces and sockliners.  

Use the same soapy water and cloth to scrub away any dirt from the sockliners. Remove dirt and stains from your shoelaces by submerging your laces in the warm soapy water. 

Step 6: Rinse and dry. 

Once your running shoes are cleaned, rinse the soapy solution off with warm water. Avoid fully submerging your shoes. After rinsing, use a dry cloth to dry. Avoid using heaters and direct sunlight as heat sources can cause damage. Best practice is to fill your shoes with old newspaper to help maintain their shape as they dry. Air dry shoelaces and sockliners indoors. 

Step 7: Reassemble your shoes and get ready to run! 

After your running shoes are completely dry, you can slide the sockliners back in and re-lace your shoes, ready for their next wear. 

Now that your shoes are looking like you just bought them, ensure you can keep them looking fresh by utilising a shoe protector such as The Athlete’s Foot Shoe Protector. This shoe protector provides a breathable layer of protection against water, liquids, and stains. The elements remain on the surface and can be easily wiped away. 

If odour is an issue, consider purchasing a deodoriser. The Athlete’s Foot Odour Eliminator is an eco-friendly and skin-safe option that works equally well on hats, sportswear, and even gym bags! 

How to clean your running shoes
Posted on 13-09-2023
By TheAtheletesFoot
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