how do i clean my running shoes
how do i clean my running shoes

Running shoes are an essential part of any fitness enthusiast’s wardrobe, providing the comfort and support needed for those long-distance runs. However, after miles of sweat and dirt, they can easily become a little worse for wear. If you’re wondering how to give your beloved running shoes a much-needed refresh, fret not! In this article, we will share some tried-and-true tips and tricks on how to clean your running shoes effectively, ensuring they look and feel as good as new. So, say goodbye to smelly, grimy shoes, and get ready to step into a fresh and clean pair for your next run.

Cleaning Running Shoes

Running shoes are an essential part of our fitness journey. They take us on countless adventures, but they also endure a lot of wear and tear in the process. Over time, our shoes become dirty and start to lose their shine. Cleaning our running shoes not only enhances their appearance but also helps to maintain their performance and durability. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of cleaning your running shoes, ensuring they look and feel fresh for your next run.

Materials Needed

Before we embark on our cleaning journey, let’s gather all the materials we need to make our running shoes look as good as new. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Soft brush or toothbrush: This will be used to remove surface dirt and debris from your shoes.
  • Mild laundry detergent: Look for a gentle detergent that won’t damage the materials of your shoes.
  • Water: Clean water is essential for various cleaning steps.
  • White vinegar: An excellent natural cleaning agent that helps remove stains and eliminates odors.
  • Baking soda: A powerful deodorizer that can freshen up your shoes.
  • Cleaning cloth or sponge: Ideal for wiping down the exterior of your shoes.
  • Old toothbrush or cotton swabs: These can come in handy for spot cleaning stubborn stains.
  • Washing machine (optional): If your shoes are machine-washable, you may choose to use a washing machine.
  • Dry towels or newspaper: These will be used to absorb excess moisture during the drying process.
  • Deodorizing products: To keep your shoes smelling fresh, consider using specialized deodorizing products.
  • Shoe storage box or breathable bag: After cleaning, you’ll need a proper storage solution to maintain the shoes’ shape and protect them from dust or damage.


Before we dive into the cleaning process, it’s essential to prepare our shoes and the cleaning area. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth cleaning experience:

  1. Remove shoelaces: Take off the shoelaces from your running shoes. This will allow you to clean them thoroughly and prevent tangling in the washing machine (if you choose to machine wash).
  2. Remove insoles (if possible): Some running shoes have removable insoles. If yours do, take them out before cleaning. This will help the shoes dry more efficiently.
  3. Prepare the cleaning area: Find a well-ventilated area with enough space to clean your shoes comfortably. Lay down a towel or place a plastic sheet to protect the surface underneath.
  4. Read shoe manufacturer’s cleaning instructions: Different shoe materials require different cleaning methods. Check the manufacturer’s label or website to ensure you’re following the correct cleaning guidelines specific to your running shoes.

Removing Surface Dirt

The first step in cleaning your running shoes is to remove any loose dirt and debris from their exterior. Follow these simple steps for a quick surface clean:

  1. Brush away loose dirt: Using a soft brush or toothbrush, gently brush the outer surface of your shoes to remove any loose dirt or mud particles. Make sure to brush all sides, including the outsole and crevices.
  2. Wipe down the exterior: Take a cleaning cloth or sponge and dampen it with water. Wipe down the entire shoe, paying attention to any stubborn spots or stains. This will help remove stuck-on dirt and prepare your shoes for a deeper clean.
  3. Remove and clean laces separately: Now that the surface dirt is gone, it’s time to tackle your shoelaces. Remove them from the shoes and set them aside. Fill a sink or bowl with warm water and a small amount of mild laundry detergent. Submerge the laces in the soapy solution and gently agitate them to loosen any dirt or grime. After a few minutes, rinse the laces with clean water and hang them to dry.

Cleaning the Laces

Clean laces can make a significant difference in the overall cleanliness of your running shoes. Let’s dive into the process of cleaning and rejuvenating your laces:

  1. Create a cleaning solution: Fill a sink or bowl with warm water and add a small amount of mild laundry detergent. Alternatively, you can use a mixture of warm water and white vinegar for a natural cleaning solution.
  2. Submerge laces in the solution: Place the laces in the cleaning solution, ensuring they are fully submerged. Allow them to soak for about 15-30 minutes. This will help loosen any dirt or stains.
  3. Gently scrub laces: After soaking, take an old toothbrush or a clean cloth and scrub the laces gently. Focus on any visibly dirty areas or stains. Work the cleaning solution into the fabric for effective cleaning.
  4. Rinse and dry laces: Once you’ve scrubbed the laces, rinse them thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue. Squeeze out the excess water and hang the laces to dry. Avoid direct sunlight or high heat, as they can cause discoloration or damage to the material.
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Ryan Simmons
I'm Ryan Simmons, a passionate running enthusiast and shoe enthusiast. I have been running since I was a kid and never looked back. I started the website Max Shoes Running to share my knowledge and experience with other running aficionados. I have extensively researched the best shoes for running and am constantly testing new shoes to find the best ones for different runners. I'm also a big fan of sharing running tips and advice to help others reach their running goals. I'm always looking for new and innovative ways to improve my running, and I'm sure I can help you too.