Last week I decided my gym shoes were in need of a cleaning. So naturally, I took them in the shower with me. As I stood there, gently massaging them with some Johnson’s baby shampoo and a soft bristle toothbrush, I thought to myself:
a. “Holy cross country, I am mad OCD.”
and b. “I should probably write about this.”
Granted, as a runner and a very active person, I put a great deal of thought and money into my shoes (my brand of choice is Mizuno, in case you were wondering). It’s therefore important to make sure I’m supporting my sneaks as much as they’re supporting me.
I think a lot of you would be more apt to do the same, if only you knew how exactly to go about it. Here, then, is a helpful guide.
– First things first: consult the care guide for your particular shoes (if you have/can locate one).
– Unless you have been expressly instructed by that care guide, do NOT put your shoes into the washing machine. These shoe things are constructed using lots of science-y, research-ness, and throwing them in the wash can drastically accelerate the rate at which all that goodness breaks down.
– Begin by removing the laces and all inserts from your shoes.
– Run the laces through the washing machine, and then allow them to air dry.
– Then, using a soft soap (like ehm, baby shampoo…), some warm water, and a very gentle brush, clean the shoes, inside and out, along with the inserts. Pay attention to how hard you scrub at places where any fabrics might tear or fray.
You can do this in a way that’s easiest for you; wet the shoes and then squeeze some soap on them and massage, or fill a bucket with warm soapy water, submerge, then scrub, etc.
– Rinse the shoes and inserts well, making sure to get any remaining soap out of the shoe fibers.
– Strategically squeeze any excess moisture of the shoes.
– Stuff the shoes with paper towel or hand towels to help them retain their shape.
– Place them (preferably upside down) in a well- ventilated area. Place a towel underneath them to absorb the moisture. Even if your shoes can withstand the washer, do NOT put them in the dryer. The heat will kill the glue that holds your shoes together. If you need them dry in a hurry, try putting them out in the sunshine, or in front of a fan.
– Allow the shoes, inserts, and laces to dry completely before re-inserting and re-lacing.
– Make sure to properly air your shoes out after each use (read: don’t keep them in your hot car all the time). Remove the insoles, and allow them to breathe. You can also add some baking soda to absorb any odors.