Can You Wash Your Running Shoes In The Washing Machine?

I just got home from running a half marathon and I thought I should wash my running shoe. However, I was too tired to do it by hand so I thought about washing them in the washing machine. But before I did, I called a friend who works at a running shoe specialized store, and here’s what he advised.

Yes, you can. However, shoe manufacturers do not recommend washing your running shoes in the washing machine. Soaking your running shoes in hot water and detergent may slowly disintegrate the shoe’s adhesive. Furthermore, the spin of the washing machine can stretch the shoe and ruin its fit.

Ahead, we will look at how (if you really have to) to wash running shoes in the washing machine. We’ll also look at why doing so is a bad idea and how to wash your running shoes properly by hand.

Washing Your Running Shoes In The Washing Machine

washing running shoes in washing machine

Technically speaking, you can wash your running shoe in the washing machine a couple of times and get away with it.

I’ve tried it with other shoes and they were fine, however, specialized shoes like running shoes need to be precise and their cushioning protected.

The quality of running shoes heavily relies on their overall fit, structure, and cushioning that damage to any of these may cause discomfort.

And I think any runner would agree that running in uncomfortable shoes for long distances is not a good experience.

That is why I heavily advise against washing your running shoes in the washing machine. There’s just too much risk of damaging the shoe that I don’t think it’s worth it.

But in case you want to try it, whirlpool released a guideline on how to wash your running shoes using a washing machine.

In summary, here’s how you can machine wash your running shoes:

  • Check the care and cleaning instructions for your shoe. If it specifies handwash, do not continue washing them in the washer.
  • Remove the laces and insoles.
  • Wash the laces and insoles separately by hand.
  • Remove as much mud and debris from the shoe as possible.
  • Put the running shoe inside a mesh bag and make sure to zipper it.
  • Place the shoe in the washer and add some towels to balance out the wash load.
  • Set the washing machine in delicate, cold water, and the slow spin option.
  • Add liquid detergent.
  • Start cycle.
  • Once done, air dry your running shoes in a shaded open area

But again, I would like to repeat what I said, washing your running shoes in the washing machine is not a good idea.

The recommended way to wash them is by hand.

Why Washing Your Shoes In The Washing Machine Is Not A Good Idea

If you’re like most people, you probably think that throwing your running shoes in the washing machine is a quick and easy way to get them clean. Unfortunately, this is not a good idea.

Washing your shoes in the machine can damage the material and cause them to break down more quickly. It can also ruin the shape of the shoes and make them uncomfortable to wear.

If you’re washing a trail running shoe, chances are it’s muddy and full of debris. Mud can contain rocks, twigs, and other debris that can damage your washing machine or clog its drains.

So you’re not only risking damage to your running shoe by washing them in the washing machine, but you’re also risking damage in your washing machine.

How To Wash Your Running Shoes Properly

The best way to wash your running shoes is by hand. This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually not that difficult. Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Start by removing the laces and insoles from your shoes.

Step 2: Use a brush or old toothbrush to remove any dirt, mud, or debris from the shoes.

Step 3: Rinse the shoes with cool water to remove any loose dirt.

Step 4: Fill a bucket or sink with warm water and mild soap.

Step 5: Dip a cloth or brush in the soapy water and scrub the shoes. Be sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies. Also, brush the insoles and the laces too.

Step 6: Rinse the shoes with cool water to remove any soap residue.

Step 7: Stuff the shoes with newspaper to help them retain their shape as they dry.

Step 8: Allow the shoes to air dry in a shaded area. Do not put them in direct sunlight or heat, as this can damage the material.

Step 9: Once the shoes are dry, put the insoles back in and lace them up.

If you want to check out my full running shoe wash guide, you can check it out by clicking the link provided.

Can You Dry Running Shoes In The Dryer?

Running shoe manufacturers advise against washing running shoes in the dryer. The heat from the dryer can break down the materials in your shoes, causing them to degrade faster.

Additionally, it can shrink or warp the shoe making them uncomfortable to wear.

Related post: How Long Do Running Shoes Last? Here’s What The Experts Say

Final Thoughts

Although it’s possible to wash your running shoes in the washing machine, washing your running shoes by hand is the best way to clean them.

If you must machine wash them, be sure to use a mesh bag and the delicate cycle with cold water to prevent damage.

Always air dry your shoes in a shaded area to prevent damage.

Nicho Mauricio

Running wasn't always my favorite sport. I was a CrossFit athlete and I loved every bit of it. But since the pandemic began, I was forced to stay away from the gym and train at home instead. Things got boring. That's when I decided to trail run with my friends. I instantly got hooked. So I started training and researching all things running. As a beginner, I want to buy only the best running gear and do only the best practices. This blog is where I share what I've learned in my journey and my experiences as a runner.

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