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How to Clean your Running Shoes

Discover effective methods for cleaning your running shoes and maintaining their quality over time.
Dirty Running Shoes

Remember, while running shoes are built to endure the rigours of the road, they are crafted from delicate materials that require careful handling.

“The synthetic fibers, gluing techniques, foams and stitching used in running shoes are carefully engineered to provide the best experience on the run. Any unnatural cleaning techniques can harm the integrity of the shoes, change the fit and lead to a less premium experience.”

Global product line manager of footwear at ASICS

Think of your running shoes as you would any high-quality garment in your wardrobe. Just as you wouldn’t toss a cashmere jumper into the washing machine, your shoes deserve gentle care. However, there’s no need for dry cleaning here. You can effectively clean your running shoes at home.

What you’ll need:

  • Mild detergent or gentle soap
  • Soft-bristled brush or toothbrush
  • Sponge Paper towels
  • Bucket of warm water

How to clean your running shoes

  1. Begin by removing the shoelaces and insoles from your shoes.
  2. Fill a bucket or basin with warm water and add 15-30ml of mild detergent.
  3. Use a dry paper towel to remove any excess dirt or debris from the shoes before wetting them.
  4. Dip a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush into the soapy water and gently scrub the outsoles of the shoes by hand. Rinse with a damp sponge or towel.
  5. Clean the uppers of the shoes using a wet, soapy sponge for materials like fabric, mesh, or canvas. For suede, nubuck, or leather uppers, use cleaning products specifically designed for these materials and follow the instructions carefully.
  6. Scrub the insoles with soapy water using a toothbrush or soft-bristled brush. Rinse off any dirt and excess soap with a damp sponge. Avoid soaking the insoles to prevent damage to the foam.
  7. Wash the shoelaces with soap and a brush under running water.
  8. Allow all parts of the shoes to air dry with paper towels stuffed inside to absorb moisture and maintain their shape. Avoid drying them near heat sources or in direct sunlight, as this can cause damage.
  9. Once dry, sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes to absorb any lingering odours or moisture.

What not to do

  1. Avoid putting your running shoes in the washing machine, as this can damage the fabric and adhesives.

  2. Refrain from using bleach or harsh household cleaners, sticking to gentle, clothing-safe options instead.

  3. Do not dry your running shoes in the dryer, near a radiator, or in direct sunlight, as excessive heat can cause them to lose their shape or deteriorate. Air-drying is the best method.

With proper care, you can ensure your running shoes remain in top condition and continue to perform on the road. However, there may come a time when a simple cleaning isn’t enough.


Regularly inspect your running shoes for signs of wear and tear, such as worn-out soles or loose stitching. Addressing these issues promptly can help prolong the lifespan of your shoes and prevent discomfort or injury while running.

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