A common question I get asked time and time again, is should running shoes be washed, and if so how?




My answer is simply YES they should be washed.

They should be washed, but care must be taken to not damage them in the process, as you have invested in an expensive pair of the state of the art running shoes and you want to get the most value out of them. You also want them to look good and to not smell.

This is how to wash and look after your running shoes.


Undo your laces before you take your shoes off or before you put them on. Alternate shoes from run to run. This will prolong the life of the shoe, which are only designed for 800 to 1200km of wear.

If your shoes are showing signs of excessive wear and tear it is time to replace them with a new pair. Stick to the same brand and model of running shoe if it has worked well for you.


Wipe your shoes regularly with a damp cloth to remove dust and mud.


Submerse your shoes in tepid water and gently scrub them with a soft brush using a mild soap. Shoe shampoo products are available for this or a dash of Handy Andy will also work.

Rinse them well and then place them up side down in a cool place to dry. This may take up to 48 hours. This is a good reason is to have 2 or more pairs of shoes to alternate wearing and washing them.

Also wash the innersole in this manner.


Do not wash them in a washing machine (even on a cold cycle). The prolonged immersion in the water may damage the materials and glue used in the shoe. The rolling around in the machine will also damage the shoe.

Do not use and strong detergents or cleaning chemicals such as bleach or ammonia in the washing process.

Do not place then in the direct sun or a hot place to dry. This can cause the materials to shrink.

Do not dry them in a tumble dryer or in the warming drawer of a stove.


This topic of running shoe washing has been hotly debated by runners in general, and it is clear that everyone has their own system of washing their running shoes. Some runners do not even wash their shoes as they believe it is a status symbol to wear dirty running shoes.

Personally I like nice clean running shoes to wear and run in, as can be seen in my Lunar Glide’s in the picture.

Just be careful of trying anything new. Stick to what works.


This information and / advice is the opinion of the author in his capacity as a qualified and registered podiatrist in South Africa. As the prescription of the correct sport shoe for a patient is a complex task based on numerous factors, this information is meant as a guide only.

The categorization of the sport shoe models in this publication is the opinion of the author based on his professional experience, using available information sourced from the individual sporting companies and information published in sporting magazines and the internet.

It is beyond the ambit of this publication to list the individual attributes of each shoe model. For more information on each model consult the individual company.

The information contained in this website is as current as possible, and every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy.