How to Clean and Maintain Running Shoes

Running shoes are an important gear for an athlete as they not only protect but also enhance their athletic performance. It is therefore crucial to take care of your shoes so that they are in perfect condition to help you reach your goal. Taking proper care and investing time in maintaining your running shoes will not only enhance the longevity of your running shoes but also aid in improving performance.

Cleaning and maintaining your running shoes periodically prevents the buildup of dirt and foul odour, prolongs the shoe’s overall lifespan and maintains proper traction.

A soft brush (an old toothbrush) for the shoe upper, a hard cleaning brush for the shoe sole, a mild detergent solution, a cleaning cloth or towel water and a bucket are the basic items to clean a running shoe. Sometimes optional items like hydrogen peroxide, washing soda and specialised shoe detergent could be required depending on how dirty the shoe is or what type of material and bonded nylon threads are used in manufacturing the running shoe. Coats is the world leader in manufacturing industrial threads. They also give back to society through their Coats Cares programme and the recent event was Coats Cares Bulgaria.

How to Clean Running Shoes
How to Clean Running Shoes

Step-by-step Cleaning Process

Running is rough on your running shoes. Marathon runners and explorers get dirt stuck on the soles of their running shoes. This accumulated dirt reduced the shoe traction. Dirt, grime and debris can get inside the fabric of the running shoe. This can stain the shoe fabric and cause discomfort by constantly rubbing against your foot.

Additionally, the running shoes are intended to be used in outdoor environments with prolonged exposure to the sun. This could result in damage from weather, sweat and rigorous wear and tear from the running activity.

Therefore, it is essential to frequently clean your running shoe as it maintains hygiene and increases the running shoe’s lifespan. To clean your running properly you can follow the below detailed steps:

  • Step 1: Remove Excess Dirt
    • a). The first step is to remove the excess dirt and accumulated debris from the shoe upper and other parts of the shoe except the sole by gentle scrubbing. Soft scrubbing strokes will ensure the knitted, mesh fabric or the polyester sewing threads used to stitch the components in the shoe upper are not damaged as this fabric is slightly more delicate than the other part of the running shoe.
    • b). Next with the help of a tough hard brush scrub and clean the outsole of the shoe where dirt-cake and other debris is accumulated. A dirt pick can also be used to push out the tiny parts of stones or rocks at get stuck in the wear pattern of your running shoe.
  • Step 2: Prepare the Cleaning Solution.
    • a). Simple Cleaning Solution: A simple cleaning solution is used when the running shoe is not excessively dirty and soiled by debris and mud. For this, you can take some warm water in a bowl and to this add your laundry detergent and mix thoroughly.
    • b). Tough Cleaning Solution: A tough cleaning solution comes in use when the shoe is mucky and greasy soiled with grim, and filth and the fabric is spotted and stained as well. To prepare the tough cleaning solution you need to take some warm water in a bowl, to this add two tablespoons of your laundry detergent, half a tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and half a tablespoon of washing soda. Stir to combine all ingredients well.
  • Step 3: Soak the Running Shoe in the Cleaning Solution
    • Once the cleaning solution is ready, you can then soak the shoe in the cleaning solution for 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure that you remove the laces and soak the shoe with the upper facing inwards along with the laces. This will soften the dirt as it will form a micelle with the cleaning solution and will be easy to scrub of later.
  • Step 4: Cleaning the Upper and Laces
    • After 10 to 15 minutes take the shoe out and with the help of the soft brush gently clean the shoe upper by scrubbing the fabric softly. Rinse the brush occasionally to remove any dirt that gets stuck in the brush and then clean the laces by spreading them on a flat surface. Ensure that you clean the laces from both sides.
  • Step 5: Scrubbing the Outsole
    • Now take the strong brush and scrub the outsole of the shoe with to-and-fro brush movement. Reapply the cleaning solution in areas that need it and scrub again until it is clean.
  • Step 5: Rinse the Running Shoe
    • Once you are satisfied that your running shoes are clean then you can take a bucket full of normal room temperature water and dip your shoes in it or rinse them thoroughly under running water. Make sure that all the soapy solution is out.
  • Step 6: Towel Drying the Running Shoe
    • Once the running shoes are clean, you can then take a clean towel or a thick, clean cloth and use it to wrap your running shoes to soak the excess water and slightly dry them.
  • Step 7: Airdrying the Running Shoe
    • The next step is to place the towel-dried shoes in an area which is not exposed to direct sun but gets filtered sunlight or has some shade over it. Since air drying can take a whole day depending upon the intensity of sunlight and the weather or the season, it is important to have some shade to avoid fading or discolouration. Do not machine dry or read cleaning precautions mentioned by the manufacturer.

You can also machine wash your running shoes after you have completed steps 1 and 2. However, it is imperative to cover your running shoes in a soft cloth bag or pillow cover so that the delicate shoe fabric is not damaged.

Having said that, cleaning your running shoes with your hands will always give superior results.

Lastly, taking care and investing time to clean and maintain your running shoes is not only about making them look presentable but doing this time-to-time also enhances their longevity, maintains better hygiene, provides comfort and improves performance.

The simple yet effective cleaning guide shared in this blog above will help you make your running shoes look fresh, prevent foul odour from trapping, and eventually enhance your overall running experience.

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