How to wash your running shoes

How to wash your running shoes


According to popular opinion, a good pair of shoes can last for approximately 400-600 miles of running. I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time parting with a pair of shoes. Each pair reminds me of a certain time of year or a particular race. Each one has a story. My beloved Nike Frees probably have close to 400 miles on them by now. After getting them in April, they’ve been my go-to pair ever since. Whether I’m going out for a casual run, running a race or just need a good pair of shoes for a long walk, they are always the first ones I grab.

As a result, they were starting to look pretty grimy. Certainly not the beautiful hot pink they were when I first got them.

It got me thinking: can you put your running shoes in the washing machine? I’ve tried wiping my running shoes by hand with different cleaners, but it never seems to make a significant difference. But the Frees – with they’re super soft, slipper-like feel – should be just fine in the wash, right? Besides, this pair is just about ready to be retired so why not give it a try?

It turns out my experiment was a huge success and my beloved Nike Frees have a new lease on life! Here’s what I did if you want to give it a try yourself.

How to wash your running shoes


Step 1: Take the laces out and wash them separately with some other clothes. Put aside.

Step 2: Remove any rocks that may have gotten stuck in the soles. I always seem to have pebbles in the bottoms of my Frees.

Step 3: Take out the insoles and put each shoe and insole in a sock bag or lingerie bag so that they don’t bang around as much in the wash. A pillow case could also work. Dab any major stains with a stain remover. I used Shout.

Step 4: Add your favourite detergent. I used a Tide pod.

Step 5: Turn your machine to a regular cycle using warm water. Sit back and wait for the magic to happen.

Step 6: Take your shoes out and put them on a drying rack or lay against the wall to dry. Don’t put them in the dryer. They will bang around and make you crazy.

Step 7: Once dry, put the insoles and laces back in and voila: brand new shoes. Sort of. 🙂

Step 8: Go for a run and admire your beautiful clean kicks.

One note: if your shoes are super dirty (ie: covered in mud from your recent trail run), don’t use the washing machine. The grime from your shoes can actually damage your machine. Instead, try hand washing first in the sink with a brush and paper towel to remove the initial dirt, then consider the machine. Some websites also claim that machine washing your shoes can damage or shrink them. I did not notice any damage or shrinking in my experiment, but proceed with caution.

Do you wash your running shoes? Or do you throw ‘em away and get a new pair? If you wash, any tips to keep your shoes looking new?


  1. Patty September 7, 2015 / 12:45 am

    So did you mean you put each shoe & each insole in a separate bag? So 4 bags?

    • Miranda September 7, 2015 / 4:17 am

      I put both the shoe and insole in the same bag so two total. It just helps clean the insole and inner parts of the shoe.

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