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How to clean your running shoes

How to get your well-loved shoes looking good as new

Trail running athlete crossing the dirty puddle in the forest

Most running shoes should last a runner between 400 and 600K–that’s a lot of kilometres to log in one pair of shoes. If the foam on your shoe is still going strong but they’re either getting a little dirty or smelly, here’s how you can change that and extend the life of your runners.

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Keeping your running shoes clean and dry isn’t just about the look of your shoes, it’s also a great way to avoid bacteria growth that can accumulate from a damp shoe and cause unwanted things like toenail infections.

The washing machine

The washing machine requires a little dismantling but is a very effective cleaning method. Remove the insert and laces from your shoe and throw them all in the washing machine on a delicate cycle. Wash your shoes on cold and be sure to get as much grime off of the shoe as you can before putting them in the machine. Shoes can be a little loud in the washing machine because of their weight, so throw a couple old towels in with the load to dampen the sound. This will have your shoes looking (and smelling) better in no time.

Magic Eraser

A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is shockingly effective at cleaning running shoes if mud is your primary issue. Get as much dirt off as possible with a cloth while the shoes are dry, then take the magic eraser to the sole of the shoe to have them looking brand new.

Old t-shirts and toothbrushes

If you really want to get into the crevices of a shoe, use a cut up old t-shirt. The second option for cleaning the exterior of a shoe is a toothbrush, which is particularly effective on the upper of a shoe, while a t-shirt is good at getting into the grooves of a sole.

Drying your shoes

Once your shoes are clean, leave them in front of a fan or outside in the sun to dry. This will take a couple hours but it’s easier on the shoe than putting them in the dryer which can break down the foam due to the high heat. Drying your shoes is particularly important in the winter and spring when wet conditions can lead to a really smelly shoe.

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