It may strictly be for appearance purposes or because you can no longer fit your feet into your shoes on account of they’re so full of mud, but whatever your reason for wanting to clean up those sneakers, here’s a simple guide on how to wash running shoes.
Keep in mind that washing too often with some cleaning techniques can decrease the lifespan of your shoes; however, leaving them dirty can have a similar effect so make a judgement call before deciding to add your shoes onto the weekly washing list.
If you’re constantly running along trails in the summertime, you might notice that your shoes pick up a light dust. This debris can get stuck deep within the fabric, increasing the wear on your shoes and sometimes leading to blisters if not removed.
Step 1: Bang It Out
Grab ahold of each shoe, give them a swing and smack those soles together to remove as much of the dust as you can by shear force.
Step 2: Rinse It Off
Once you’ve finished with a good, solid beating, turn on the faucet and give your shoes a cold-water rinse in the tub or simply take a run along the road while it’s raining – the motion from your gait should flush the dust right out.
If you manage to go for an outdoor run in Vancouver without hitting a mini dirt-lake or two…or seven…you’re clearly spending far too much time minding every one of your steps. Mud typically just sits on the outer surface of the shoe rather than making it’s way to the inside like fine dust so you may not really care to put any effort in to clean it off, but if you do…
Wash It Out
If you want that new-shoe look again then follow the instructions for machine washing them (just make sure you get the chunks off before you toss them in with your whites) and you can probably even get away with not using any detergent.
Removing…Grunge and Goo
If you have somehow gotten yourself through some very thick, very oily mud and your shoes now closely resemble an alien goo-monster, your best option at this point may lay with the sheer force of a power washer. It’s probably best to try and clean the shoes right after you’ve found your way home from whatever sticky swamp you’ve been trekking through – then make sure to take a second to thank your lucky stars that you made it out of that place with both your shoes still on your feet.
If you don’t have a power washer or you live in an apartment and find that the tenants below you don’t particularly like it when you power wash your shoes on your deck while they’re trying to barbecue, put the filtering plug in the drain of your kitchen sink, fill it with warm water and plunge the sneakers in. Once you get most of the gunk off, throw the shoes in the washing machine on warm and add a good amount of detergent. Leave in a warm area to air dry.