True, good maintenance of your running shoes will sure prolong their life and keep them looking nice and healthy, but make sure you are not overdoing it when it comes to washing them. So, make sure you are not washing them too often for too long or by using an inappropriate washing method.

how to clean running shoes

How to clean running shoes by hand

When you are manually cleaning your tennis shoes, make sure you do not soak them or oversaturate them with water. The minimal amount of water you use, the less likely you will damage them in the process.

  • How to clean muddy running shoes

Use a scrub brush, a toothbrush, a cloth or other, to get as much of the grit, mud, grass and stains off of your shoes. This is done by dipping your scrubbing tool in warm water with some mild anti-grease detergent.

  • How to get grass stains out of shoes

First try with detergent and scrub brush. Apply generous amount of detergent and make a good lather. Let soak for 5 minutes and scrub it off. If the grass stains are fresh, this method will get them out.

However, if you are dealing with older grass stains, it is likely that you will need something stronger. Mix 1/4 cup bleach and 1/4 cup of peroxide in a cup and apply to the dirty parts. Let soak for 15 minutes and clean throughly.

  • Step by step guide

Remove the sockliners or inserts and wash them separately with mild detergent. In fact, you can wash them after each run, because they dry quickly and are usually washable.

When you are done, do not be tempted to use a hairdryer or other heat source to dry the trainers, because heat can deform them and shrink them permanently.

Let them dry outdoors but out of the direct sunlight. You can help the drying process by periodically stuffing them and changing a filling made of paper towels, kitchen roll paper or crumpled newspapers.

Normally, a pair of running shoes should be completely dry in 12 hours. Remember to wait for the footbeds or sockliners to be completely dry before placing them back into the trainers.

How to wash tennis or running shoes

We always recommend the manual method outlined above. However, if your sneakers can handle being washed in a washing machine, then make sure you take the necessary precautions for the safety of your shoes as well as your washing machine.

Always aim for the shortest and gentlest cycle when washing your running shoes.

Before throwing them in the washing machine, it is a good idea to scrub off as much of the dirt, mud, grit and other residue from them, so that it doesn’t cause your washing machine to get clogged.

Also, place each shoe in a separate pillowcase, along with the insoles and laces which you should have removed.

In order to avoid the shoes banging into the walls of your washing machine, it is a good idea to a couple of towels or other cloths.

After the washing, avoid placing the shoes in the dryer, unless the manufacturer has specified that this is safe. The heat can cause size and form changes in your running shoes! Be extra careful if you suffer from bunions, wear specific athletic shoes for bunions and if any changes of the shoe toe box can cause you pain.

Instead, stuff them with newspapers or paper towels and leave them outdoors to dry. If it is very hot, avoid placing them directly under the sunlight, because the natural heat can also cause deformities, shrinking as well as color fading.

You can use cold air from a ventilator or fan to help with the drying process safely though.

Remember, even though you shouldn’t wash your running or tennis shoes too often, you should keep a good hygiene, so that your feet remain healthy and fresh even if you run every day.

The best way is to thoroughly wash the inserts or sockliners at least once a week!

After all, good quality running shoes are usually quite a big investment, so you will need to take proper care for them, not only to be able to use them for longer, but so that they provide the comfort, safety and freshness during each run.

Some other running shoe maintenance tips, to prolong the life of yours include:

  • Never kicking them off, no matter how tired you may be after a run. Always unlace them before slipping them off!
  • You may want to leave your shoes somewhere outdoors (but dry) so that they can air out, especially after a long and sweaty run.
  • Don’t keep them in your gym bag, at least take them out when you get home, so they can get as ventilated as much as possible.
  • Use your running shoes for running. Using them for basketball or for walking will wear them faster, plus running shoes are made to support straight forward motion and not lateral movements, so this could actually be dangerous for you.

Good running shoes should get you through 300 to 500 miles, so make sure you take care of them and use them properly!