It’s not very easy running with your shoes on. Pavement runners get debris, and dirt regularly into their shoe fabric and it grinds into the foot just like sandpaper.

Even trail runners finish with outsoles caked with mud. The damage to the soles is due to sweat, weather, and countless miles of barraging with the ‘foot-protectors.’ Runners need to remember to clean their shoes so that it has an extended lifespan and the shoes look fresh. Here is a guide to maintaining and cleaning your trainers.

Things essential to clean your shoes:

•    A sponge

•    A toothbrush or a soft scrub

•    Clothing-safe soap or a mild detergent

•    Paper towels

•    Warm water

Steps to clean your running shoes:

  1. Wash your shoes separately as separate parts; take out your insoles and shoelaces.
  2. Add up to 15-30ml mild detergent to a bucket of warm water.
  3. Use a paper towel and clear the dirt, debris or any mud clinging to your shoes before getting the trainers wet.
  4. Use a toothbrush or soft scrub brush dipped in soapy, warm water to clean the shoe’s bottom and rinse using wet towels or a sponge.
  5. Clean the shoe’s upper. This is the part that keeps your foot in wraps and the way you clean it is based on the fabric of the shoe, whether it is canvas or mesh. Use a soapy, wet sponge and gently scrub. You may consider hand washing your shoes gently, but avoid submerging your shoes in the water.  The soap and water may discolor or damage materials such as leather or suede. Use cleaning products as per the instructions.
  6. Clean the soles with soapy water. Scrub the insoles using the scrub brush or toothbrush thoroughly, clean off the excess soap and dirt using a wet sponge. Do not soak the insoles or there is a risk of damaging the shoe shape and form.
  7. Clean your shoelaces by running it under water. Scrub soap and use the scrub brush to scrub the laces.
  8. Once all the shoe parts have been cleaned, allow them to air dry by stuffing it with paper towels. It helps in absorbing all the moisture and maintaining the shoe shape as they dry.
  9. As your shoes get dried, you may spray baking soda inside to absorb any residual moisture or any odors.

What you must not do:

  • Never wash running shoes in the washing machine or consider soaking shoes in the water for long hours as it may damage the adhesives and fabric. Worse, it may become a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Do not use household cleaning supplies or bleach to clean your shoes. Consider only clothing-safe and gentle options.
  • Avoid drying your shoes in direct sunlight, near a radiator or in the dryer. The heat produced can make your shoes lose shape, or they may even come apart. In fact, air-drying is the best as the circulating air offers the shoes a chance to get that much-needed breathing space from being stuffed with feet all the time.