Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How To Tuesday (Clean your dirty shoes)

As I become a more experienced runner I'm going through more pairs of running shoes. My closet is beginning to look like a girl's closet there are so many shoes! Recently, I found myself staring at a pair of last year's Asics GT2140s. The once bright white and red shoes are now a dull gray dirt color that remind me of a New England winter where you can't see sun for days because it's so overcast. An accumulation of dirt, rain and sweat have left my shoes in a state that would be embarrassing to wear as casual walking shoes. They have way too many miles on them to use as running shoes anymore, yet they are still comfortable and the soles are in decent shape.

What to do.... what to do???

"There's got to be some way to clean these suckers," I tell myself.

I started out by researching a bit online for things like "running shoe care and maintenance." Eventually I find a forum on the Runner's World website. After reading a few dozen comments and suggestions on the topic I devise a plan. Here's what I did and I'll tell you it worked quite well.

1.) Pull the inserts out of the shoes. Do not wash these.

2.) Place the shoes together or individually inside pillowcase(s) and wash inside a washing machine on normal cycle with normal detergent. The pillowcase prevents scuffing of the shoes and also keeps the laces from becoming tangled. For added cushioning wash with towels or sheets. (Don't laugh at my "beachy" pillowcase; I'm a surfer living in a beach town!)

3.) Remove from the washing machine and let air dry. No need to tumble dry. The shoes will dry out just the same as if you ran a 20-miler and perspired like an animal. If you live in a high humidity environment such as Florida, you might consider using a small fan to produce airflow across the shoes as I did. By the next morning my shoes were dry and ready to wear.

4.) Now you can wear your clean running shoes for casual wear and walking without feeling like a bum. My shoes are so clean now they almost look new enough to go for a run.


  1. Did the same with mine, but I didn't use the pillow case. I have a front loading washer though, so I think those are more gentle than top loaders.

  2. No.... or only if you've been chasing dirty cows... :-)

  3. It's funny...I did that once with a pair of my shoes and it made me feel like I could wear them running, so against my better judgement, I did it. Not a good idea....