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  • Keith Wallace

Clean Them Damn Shoes!

Updated: Sep 1, 2019

It is inevitable over the miles that those shiny new shoes will become filthy and pick up an odor or two. So how do you get those shoes looking like new again or at least get that funk smell out? Just follow the process outlined below...


1. Hose off any excessive mud and debris from the upper and outer-sole.

2. Pull shoe laces out and also the insoles out. This allows the shoe to be more "open" for a better cleaning. 


3. Place your shoes, insoles, and laces into the washing machine. Be careful placing shoe laces in a top loading washing machine. The laces can become entangled in the agitator and either break the laces or stop the agitator.


For optimal performance use a front loading washing machine. The shoes tumble and receive a better washing action. In a top loading washer the shoes just float on the top of the water due to the foams used in the bottom sole.


4. Set the washing machine to cool water temp or colder and normal cycle. Do not use a water temperature above cool. Hot water can release the glue or melding holding your shoe together. A general detergent is all you need to use.  


You can also use bleach to kill the funk. However, bleach can dull or remove colors. Although in my experience I have not witness this happen. 


6. At the end of the wash pull everything out and let air dry in the sun. Do not place shoes or insoles in the dryer. The heat again can release the glue and melding of your shoe. In addition, the upper or insoles can shrink and the outer sole can warp.


Some tips to keep the odors at bay...

1. Let your shoes air out and dry in the sun. Not a bad idea to pull the insoles out as well. Moisture is the enemy here from the approximate 250,000 sweat glands in your feet. Bacteria and fungus thrive in dark warm damp places.


2. Rotate shoes between runs which allows each pair time to air out and dry. This means having a second pair of running shoes. There is an upfront cost here although over the long haul the cost is no different than buying one pair of shoes at a time. You are stilling going to run the miles, right? So the shoes per mile still remains the same in either case. Your purchase pattern just changes.