How to Clean Running Shoes?

October 2, 2021
Top tips and techniques for cleaning running shoes. Learn how to maintain your ASICS running trainers and keep them looking fresh for longer.
How to Clean Running Shoes?

Keep in mind that while running shoes are designed to be durable on the road, they’re made with special materials that are best treated delicately. The global product line manager of footwear at ASICS, explains it this way:

“The synthetic fibers, gluing techniques, foams and stitching of ASICS running shoes are carefully engineered to provide the best experience on the run. Any unnatural cleaning techniques can harm the integrity of the shoes, change the fit and lead to a less premium experience.”

Think of your running shoes like any other quality piece in your closet - you wouldn’t throw a cashmere sweater in the washing machine, would you? But don’t worry, there’s no dry cleaner needed here. You can wash your running shoes easily, and effectively, right at home.

So how do you clean running shoes? Here’s our step-by-step guide.

What you’ll need to clean your shoes:

  • Mild detergent or clothing-safe soap
  • A soft scrubbing brush or toothbrush
  • A sponge
  • Paper towels
  • A bucket of warm water

How to clean your running shoes:

1. You’ll want to wash the different parts of your shoes separately, so start off by taking out your shoelaces and insoles.

2. Fill a bucket or bowl with warm water and add 15-30ml of mild detergent.

3. With a dry paper towel, clean off any clinging mud, dirt or debris before you get your shoes wet.

4. Use a soft scrub brush or toothbrush dipped in warm, soapy water to clean the outsoles (bottoms of the shoes) by hand. Rinse with a wet sponge or towel.

5. The next job is to clean the uppers of your shoes. The upper is the part of the shoe that wraps your foot, and how you clean it will depend on what it’s made of. If it’s made of fabric, mesh or canvas, then you should use a wet, soapy sponge and scrub gently. These materials can handle handwashing, but don’t submerge your shoes in water. If the upper is made of suede, nubuck or leather, then be aware that soap and water can damage or discolour these materials. Only use cleaning products made specifically for these materials and follow the product instructions.

6. Clean your insoles with soapy water. Scrub the surface thoroughly with a toothbrush or scrub brush, then clean off the dirt and excess soap with a wet sponge. Don’t soak the insoles or you risk damaging the foam and its shape.

7. You can clean your shoelaces using soap and a scrub brush under running water.

8. Once all of the parts of your shoes have been cleaned, let them air dry with paper towels stuffed inside. This will help absorb moisture and maintain the shape of your shoes as they dry. (Just take care not to dry them near a radiator or in direct sunlight, which can cause damage).

9. Once your shoes have dried, you can sprinkle baking soda inside them to absorb any odours or residual moisture.

Novablast 2
Keep in mind that while running shoes are designed to be durable on the road, they’re made with special materials that are best treated delicately.

What not to do:

1. Don't put your running shoes in the washing machine. Soaking your shoes in water can damage the fabric and adhesives.

2. Don't use bleach or household cleaning supplies to clean your shoes. Stick to gentle, clothing-safe options.

3. Don't dry your running shoes in the dryer, near a radiator or in direct sunlight. Heat can cause your shoes to lose their shape or come apart. Air-drying is best.

With some care and attention, you can keep your running shoes in their best shape and put their toughness to the test where it counts: on the road.
Sadly, there comes a time when a quick clean just isn’t enough. Read our guide to when you should change your running shoes, and when you're lacing up your running shoes for the last time, the ASICS Shoe Finder can help you find your next pair.