Are your running shoes appearing dirty, muddy, or stained? Are gravels or thorns stuck in the treads or grooves of the outsole? Do they smell funky? If yes, it's time to grab a shoe-cleaning kit and get to work! 

If you have never paid attention to shoe maintenance before, you must be wondering how to clean shoes? Brooks Running has prepared a guide to help you improve your favorite shoes’ lifespan! 

What tools and supplies should be in your shoe-cleaning kit

What you'll need in your cleaning kit depends on the material of your shoes and how dirty they are. As a general rule, here's everything you'll ever need to spruce up your shoes and give them a brand-new look and feel:

  • Mild laundry detergent 
  • Soft shoe cleaning brush
  • Firm bristle brush or old toothbrush
  • Sponge
  • Soft cloth 
  • Baking soda
  • A bucket of warm water
  • Paper towels

How to clean shoes: An easy 7-step guide 

Generally, it would help if you cleaned your fitness shoes at least once every six months. However, the frequency of your cleaning sessions will change depending on how often you use them and the conditions in which you run. For instance, if you're running in the rainy season or on muddy trails, your everyday trainers or trail shoes will need more frequent maintenance. 

Step 1: Making a DIY cleaning solution

Combine some warm water with mild detergent powder or liquid in a bucket. 

Step 2: Removing the extras

Before cleaning your shoes, remove the laces and insoles to wash them separately. You can soak the laces in warm, soapy water for a few minutes, scrub them if stained, and then rinse them with plain water. Wipe the insoles with the cleaning solution and allow them to air dry. 

Step 3: Dry brushing

Using a soft-bristled shoe cleaning brush, gently remove the dirt or mud on the upper. Then, grab a firm-bristled brush or an old toothbrush for the midsole and outsole. You can also use a blunt toothpick to eliminate any debris and tiny pebbles stuck between the treads. 

Step 4: Scrubbing with cleaning solution

Follow step 3 again, but instead of dry brushing, scrub using the cleaning solution you made earlier. Be gentle to avoid damaging your running shoes' fabric or binding glue. 

Step 5: Rinsing

Once done with the scrubbing part, use clean tap water or a hose to rinse off any residual soapy solution. 

Step 6: Air drying

Finally, leave your shoes in the room by a window with indirect sunlight to dry them completely. You can even scrunch up some newspaper balls and stuff them inside the shoes to help with the process. 

Step 7: Reassembling and storing

When your marathon shoes are completely dry, insert the insoles, put your laces back, and venture out to log in more miles! 

Are there any special tips for cleaning trail shoes?

Indeed, trail running shoes require extra attention as they are often subjected to harsh conditions, such as rugged terrain, mud, and thorns. The trick is to clean them as soon as possible after your run to prevent the dirt from drying and becoming more difficult to remove! 

How to clean white shoes at home?

For white shoes, apart from following the cleaning process mentioned earlier, you can make a paste or solution with equal parts baking soda and water to help with the tougher stains. 

Don'ts of shoe cleaning you must note down.

  • Don't put your shoes in the washing machine or dryer—always use a proper shoe-cleaning kit
  • Stay away from harsh detergents or bleach. 
  • Never scrub the shoes too hard or excessively. 
  • Refrain from soaking the marathon shoes in water for a prolonged period. 
  • Avoid using hot water.

Now, if your running shoes are worn out and no amount of cleaning can save them, grab yourself a new pair and maintain them well. Brooks Running has some new models you can check out!

Running shoes for men 

Running shoes for women