How to wash your running shoes

Runners are generally either very pro-washing or very anti-washing when it comes to the concept of cleaning their running shoes. Some of those in the anti-washing group think that excessive shoe washing can degrade materials and make your shoes look too squeaky clean and "newbie-like".

While some never really worry about looking like a beginner, degrading the materials of an expensive pair of running shoes is a legitimate concern. Runners spend a lot of time deciding on their running shoes, so by the time they get them, they typically really love them and want to take care of them as best as they can.

In general, runners should try really hard not to wash their "active" running shoes, the ones used to run in or work out in, but in the rare occasions that this is necessary - for example, after a race in the mud - here is what to do:

  1. Fill your kitchen sink with about 2-3 inches of warm water.

  2. Add about half a cap of a delicate detergent (Woolite or similar) and swoosh it around in the water.

  3. Remove the insoles and laces from both shoes (the only part to clean is the shoe itself, not the insoles or laces).

  4. Dampen very lightly the outside of the shoe - do not dunk the whole shoe in the water or allow it to get completely soaked.

  5. Using a big fat toothbrush, scrub the dirty parts of the shoe, usually the outsole and upper areas.

  6. Use a washcloth to dab the moisture off the outside of the shoe - do not run the shoe under water to rinse out the detergent.

  7. Roll up a second, dry, washcloth and stuff it inside the shoe to help the shoe retain its shape.

  8. Repeat this process with the second shoe.

  9. Place both shoes outside to air dry.

  10. To clean the laces, toss them in with the next load of laundry in your washing machine.

  11. If insoles need attention, do not wash them but simply set them outside overnight to let them air out - it is not recommended that you get them wet or scrub them.

To summarize, never throw your running shoes into the washing machine. The foam rubber of the sole actually causes the shoe to float in the water so they do not really get as clean as you would think. Plus, you also risk the agitator of the machine tearing the fabric upper of your running shoes. Also, never ever put any of your running shoes in the dryer.

Since September 7, 2007 - © Aerostato, Seattle - All Rights Reserved.

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