Dirty, smelly running shoes can be a positive sign that you’ve taken full advantage of today’s Gore-Tex, microbial equipped trail runners. The downside is reviving your favorite pair of performers back to their original look and that new car smell. This is How To Clean Your Running Shoes no matter how bad the damage is.

Calvy Click is the Editor-in-Chief of Sneaker Report. When she isn't writing about performance footwear and apparel, you can find her running around Manhattan to Rick Ross anthems. 

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If They Stink…

Your shoes stink because they have trapped enough bacteria to cause a foul odor. The best way to avoid this problem is to remove the insoles and pull out the tongue as much as possible post-run. To clean smelly shoes, most pairs do fine in a cold cycle wash with a gentle detergent or a healthy serving of baking soda. Be sure to remove laces and sockliner and double check the care label to make sure your shoes are equipped for machine washing. Avoid the dryer and let them air dry out of direct sunlight.


If They Are Wet and Muddy…

Knock off any excessive mud before letting the shoes air-dry. Once the mud is completely dry, it will be much easier to brush off and the dust will be less likely to stain the fibers of the upper.


If They Are Caked in Dried Mud…

If the mud is excessive (bits of grass still clinging on) then tough love is best to start. Hitting the soles together or against your welcome mat will remove easy to remove dirt, while a long bristled brush is best for smaller crevices, especially lugged trail runners.


If They Are Damp and Smelly…

The smell is a result of bacteria trapped inside of your shoes so it’s best to attack the problem with a mild detergent or dish soap. Machine wash synthetic shoes in a cold, gentle cycle or hand wash with the laces and insoles removed. Let the air-dry thoroughly before the next wear.

To avoid this problem in the future, a pair of antimicrobial socks can help reduce the bacteria buildup that results that post-run stench or combat with a tablespoon of baking soda in between runs (shake out before use).

dustyconditionsIf They Are Dusty…

Dust sounds like it would easy to just brush off, but for trail shoes that have received layers of dust can be a bit stubborn. The best way to remove excessive dust is to flush it out with cold water and let air-dry. If it’s not that serious, wiping the shoe with a dry cotton cloth will do the trick.

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