You rely on your running shoes to get you through tough terrain, and that means they’re going to get dirty. Whether you’ve just run a muddy race or your shoes need a refresh, cleaning your running shoes is an easy way to keep them looking and feeling their best.
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. Westin Galloway, 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—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.
What you’ll need to clean your shoes:
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 15-30 ml. 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 towels.
5. Next, you’ll 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.
Fabric, mesh or canvas: Use a wet, soapy sponge and scrub gently. These materials can handle handwashing, but don’t submerge your shoes in water.
Suede, nubuck or leather: Be aware that soap and water can damage or discolour these materials! Use only cleaning products made specifically for suede, nubuck or leather 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 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.
What not to do:
1. Don't wash 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!
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