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How To Wash A Running Shoes How To Wash A Running Shoes


How To Wash A Running Shoes

Learn how to properly wash and care for your running shoes! Get expert tips and advice in this featured guide.


Having a good pair of running shoes is essential for any avid runner. Not only do they provide support and cushioning for your feet, but they can also help improve your performance and reduce the risk of injuries. However, after a few runs, your running shoes can start to accumulate dirt, sweat, and odor, which can affect their performance and longevity.

That’s why it’s important to know how to properly wash and maintain your running shoes. By taking the time to clean them regularly, you can keep them looking and smelling fresh, and extend their lifespan. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of washing your running shoes, from gathering the necessary supplies to properly drying them.

Before we dive into the cleaning process, it’s important to note that not all running shoes are machine washable. Some may have specific washing instructions provided by the manufacturer, so be sure to check the care label or the brand’s website before proceeding.

Now, let’s gather our supplies and get your running shoes ready for a thorough cleaning!


Necessary Supplies

Before you begin washing your running shoes, gather the following supplies:

  1. Mild detergent or shoe cleaner: Look for a gentle detergent or specifically formulated shoe cleaner that is suitable for the materials of your running shoes.
  2. Soft brush or cloth: A soft-bristled brush or a cloth will be used to scrub away dirt and stains without damaging the shoe’s material.
  3. Waterproof bag or pillowcase: This will protect your running shoes and prevent them from getting damaged inside the washing machine.
  4. Old newspapers or paper towels: These will help absorb moisture and speed up the drying process.
  5. Optional: Odor neutralizing or deodorizing spray, baking soda, or dryer sheets to combat shoe odor.

Make sure you have all the necessary supplies ready before proceeding with the cleaning process. This will ensure that you have everything you need to effectively clean and maintain your running shoes.


Preparing the Shoes

Before you begin washing your running shoes, it’s important to prepare them properly. Follow these steps:

  1. Remove the shoe laces: Take out the shoelaces from your running shoes. This will allow for better cleaning and prevent them from getting tangled or damaged during the washing process.
  2. Remove any excess dirt or debris: Use a soft brush or cloth to gently brush off any loose dirt or debris from the exterior of the shoes. Pay special attention to the outsole and any crevices where dirt may be trapped.
  3. Stuff the shoes with newspaper or paper towels: This will help the shoes maintain their shape and absorb any excess moisture during the drying process. Make sure to stuff them fully without overstuffing to ensure proper airflow.
  4. Place the shoes in a waterproof bag or pillowcase: This step will protect your running shoes from direct contact with the washing machine’s agitator or drum, preventing any potential damage.

By following these steps and properly preparing your running shoes, you’ll ensure that they are ready to be cleaned effectively without causing any harm to the shoes or the washing machine.


Cleaning the Exterior

Now that your running shoes are properly prepared, it’s time to clean the exterior. Follow these steps:

  1. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water: Avoid using hot water as it can damage the glue and materials of your running shoes. Lukewarm water is gentle yet effective in removing dirt and stains.
  2. Add a small amount of mild detergent or shoe cleaner: Follow the instructions on the detergent or cleaner to determine the appropriate amount to use. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can cause damage.
  3. Dip a soft brush or cloth into the soapy water: Gently scrub the exterior of your running shoes, paying attention to any areas with stubborn stains or dirt. Be mindful not to scrub too vigorously, as this can damage the shoe’s material.
  4. Rinse the shoes with clean water: Thoroughly rinse off the soap and dirt from the shoes using clean water. Make sure to remove all the soap suds to prevent any residue from causing irritation or discoloration.
  5. Wipe off excess water with a clean cloth: After rinsing, use a clean cloth to gently remove any excess water from the shoes. Avoid twisting or wringing the shoes, as this can also cause damage.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you can move on to cleaning the laces separately. This will ensure that every part of your running shoes is thoroughly cleaned.


Handling the Laces

While cleaning the exterior of your running shoes, it’s important not to forget about the laces. Follow these steps to clean them:

  1. Fill a small container or sink with warm soapy water: Add a small amount of mild detergent to the water and mix it well.
  2. Remove the laces from the shoes: Take out the shoelaces and place them in the soapy water.
  3. Gently scrub the laces: Use your fingers or a soft brush to gently scrub the laces, paying attention to any stains or dirt. If the laces are heavily soiled, you can let them soak in the soapy water for a few minutes to loosen the dirt.
  4. Rinse the laces with clean water: Once you’re done scrubbing, thoroughly rinse the laces with clean water to remove any soap residue.
  5. Dry the laces: Lay the laces flat on a clean towel or hang them to air dry. Avoid using heat sources such as hair dryers or heaters, as they can cause the laces to shrink or lose their shape.

Once the laces are dry, you can reinsert them into your clean running shoes. This will give your shoes a fresh and polished look.


Dealing with Odor

After a few runs, it’s common for running shoes to develop an odor. Here are some effective methods to combat unpleasant shoe odors:

  1. Odor neutralizing or deodorizing spray: There are special sprays available that are designed to neutralize odors. Spray a small amount into your running shoes and let them air dry. This will help eliminate any lingering odor.
  2. Baking soda: Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside your shoes and let it sit overnight. In the morning, simply shake out the excess baking soda.
  3. Dryer sheets: Place a dryer sheet or two inside your running shoes when you’re not wearing them. The sheets will help absorb any odors and leave your shoes smelling fresh.

Remember, prevention is key to avoiding shoe odors in the first place. Always make sure to wear clean socks, as they can help absorb sweat and prevent bacterial growth. Additionally, allowing your running shoes to fully air dry after each use will help reduce moisture and odors.

By incorporating these odor-fighting methods into your shoe care routine, you can keep your running shoes smelling fresh and clean.


Drying the Shoes

Properly drying your running shoes is crucial to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. Follow these steps to ensure your shoes dry effectively:

  1. Remove the newspaper or paper towels from inside the shoes: Gently remove the newspaper or paper towels that were used to absorb moisture during the cleaning process.
  2. Air-dry the shoes: Place your running shoes in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Allowing them to air dry naturally will help prevent any damage to the shoe’s materials.
  3. Keep the shoes in an upright position: To help them maintain their shape, stuff the shoes with crumpled newspaper or shoe trees while they are drying.
  4. Rotate the shoes periodically: To speed up the drying process and ensure even airflow, periodically rotate the shoes, especially if the drying area has limited ventilation.
  5. Be patient: Depending on the material and thickness of your running shoes, the drying process may take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. It’s important not to rush this step to avoid any potential damage.

Remember, never use heat sources such as hair dryers or heaters to speed up the drying process, as this can cause shrinkage or distortion of the materials.

Once your running shoes are completely dry, you can reinsert the laces and they will be ready for your next run!


Maintaining Your Running Shoes

Proper maintenance of your running shoes can help prolong their lifespan and keep them in optimal condition. Here are some tips to maintain your running shoes:

  1. Rotate your shoes: Avoid wearing the same pair of running shoes every day. By rotating between multiple pairs, you allow each pair to fully dry and recover between runs, reducing wear and tear.
  2. Store your shoes properly: When you’re not using your running shoes, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid keeping them in a damp or humid area, as this can promote mold and bacterial growth.
  3. Regularly clean your shoes: Make it a habit to clean your running shoes regularly, especially after muddy or wet runs. This will prevent dirt and debris from accumulating and damaging the materials.
  4. Replace worn-out shoes: Pay attention to the condition of your running shoes. When you start to notice signs of wear and tear, such as worn-out soles, reduced cushioning, or discomfort during runs, it’s time to replace them. Continuing to run in worn-out shoes can increase the risk of injuries.
  5. Check the fit: As your running shoes age, their structure and cushioning may change. Periodically check the fit to ensure they still provide proper support and comfort. Consider getting a professional fitting if needed.

By following these maintenance tips, you can maximize the lifespan of your running shoes and ensure a comfortable and enjoyable running experience.



Knowing how to properly wash and maintain your running shoes is essential for keeping them in the best possible condition. Regular cleaning not only helps improve their appearance but also extends their lifespan, ensuring that they continue to provide the support and performance you need on your runs.

In this article, we covered the step-by-step process of washing your running shoes, from gathering the necessary supplies to properly drying them. We also discussed the importance of preparing the shoes, cleaning the exterior and laces, dealing with odor, and drying them effectively.

Additionally, we highlighted the significance of maintaining your running shoes, including rotating between pairs and storing them properly. By taking these maintenance steps, you can protect your investment and enjoy your running shoes for longer.

Remember, it’s always important to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and care instructions specific to your running shoes. Not all shoes are machine-washable, and certain materials or constructions may require special care.

By incorporating these cleaning and maintenance habits into your routine, you can keep your running shoes performing their best and ensure a comfortable and enjoyable running experience for miles to come.