Sep | 24
Inspiration, Running Tips

What is the best way to clean my running shoes?

One FAQ that frequently comes my way is…”What is the best way to clean my running shoes?”

The answer: Hand-wash them with a damp cloth and mild detergent. For best results, clean your shoes immediately after they’re exposed to mud or dirt. Then let the shoes air-dry at room temperature. It is important that you do not machine-wash or machine-dry your shoes!

About Joel
I am a runner in Seattle, Washington. When I'm not at work, I enjoy camping, running trail races and exploring the outdoors.
  • gina

    I have Brooks ariel tennis shoes. I golfed in them during wet weather and now they really stink. They don’t have any mud or dirt on them. How do I get rid of that smell if I can’t wash them. Thanks for the info.

  • Hi Gina. This is an easy fix!

    Remove the insert, hand wash the shoe with warm water and mild detergent and let air dry. This should get you back to smelling great!

  • Samara

    Thanks for the into! I’m glad I looked this up instead of just machine washing my brooks!

  • Anna

    My washing machine has a hand wash setting on it however I am assuming the same answer applies to just hand wash is the best option still?

    • Hi Anna! Yes, we still recommend hand washing your running shoes. We know newer washing machines have those gentle hand-wash settings, but cleaning the mud and grit by hand will save your shoes. Plus, it brings you two even closer together :).

      • Anna

        Yes thanks! I tried just washing them by hand and they look like new now even though they were really only lightly dusted with dirt, it came right off with liquid hand soap and a wash cloth and a little water in then I sprayed the inside and insoles and the sneakers with alcohol to refresh them them I dried them outside in the sun on the porch for the day thanks!!!! 🙂

        • Anna

          …sorry I just sprayed the insoles and the inside of the sneakers

  • Anna

    Hi again Anna here I am an over pronater or under pronater when I walk so I own brooks adrenoline 15’s that were recommended by a shoe sales clerk after assessing my walking habits in store last spring or summer & since then my soles have warn out almost completely around the centre ball of my foot on the sole and the same is true for the heel when would you honestly recommend replacing the sneakers that I currently own? I also have a lot of back pain also…partly from the way I sit but another part would perhaps be in my feet would you perhaps recommend I possibly get custom-made orthotics?

    • Hi Anna! The Adrenaline GTS is a great shoe for someone needing support when they walk or run. While we typically recommend replacing your shoes after every 300-500 miles (depending on the shoe model), if the soles of your shoes are wearing through, we recommend replacing them now. You can see the latest Adrenaline GTS model here: For questions about back pain and custom shoe inserts (we’re sorry to hear about your back!), we recommend visiting your doctor to get their advice. Run Happy!

  • starofsorrow

    Would this also apply to spills? Due to an accident, both of my brooks sneakers got soaked in Coke, and I’m trying to to figure out how to throughly clean the shoes.

    • @starofsorrow:disqus It should! The method above is best for mud/dirt/dust, and Coke may stain, but try that first before trying other ways of cleaning your shoes.

  • JM387

    My Glycerin 13s desperately need washing. I sweat a lot, and my shoes are often soaking wet with sweat after a run. I’ve been afraid to put them in the washing machine. Would soaking them in the sink with a little detergent and oxi-clean be the best way to do it?

    • @jamesmcree:disqus Great question! Soaking them in the sink with detergent and warm water works great. While soaking you can use a medium-bristle brush and some elbow grease to remove heavily soiled areas. For drying, roll up non waxy newspaper and stuff three-four sheets inside the shoe. The newspaper absorbs the moisture and allows the shoes to dry quicker. This also works after a run when the shoe is sweaty.

      • gidtanner

        Why is it okay to soak them in the sink but not run them thru a gentle washing machine cycle? Soaking in sink surely makes them as wet. If you don’t spin them in the weasher, what’s the diff?

        • HI @gidtanner:disqus ! Washing machines can vary between machine and setting, so we try to recommend washing by hand as the most reliable way to clean your shoes.

  • Bettina Nelson

    My husband has worn his Brooks running shoes without socks and now they smell like our scon’s did after a summer at camp. How can i best clean them so they are fresh?

  • David

    I spilled vodka, an alcoholic beverage, on my Brook Ghost 10 Running shoes. Would you recommend cleaning them or will the vodka not affect the shoe once it dries up?

    • Hi David,

      The spill shouldn’t affect the performance of the shoe. If you’re worried about staining, we recommend hand washing with mild detergent and allowing them to air dry.

  • Jim Wilson

    My trainer have been exposed to smoke from a fire in the flats below us. Would washing them in the sink be the best way to wash them?

    • Hi Jim,

      That should work great for you! Hand washing with mild detergent and allowing them to air dry (don’t put them in the dryer) is our recommendation.

  • Heather Jones

    Bed bugs! We were visiting someone and after we left discovered they had bedbugs. They were on our clothes and for precaution dryed our clothes on high heat. Our shoes are in a bag now outside, and I’m concerned that hand-cleaning won’t be enough. They need the heat to kill them, but I don’t trust the dryer to not deform them. Do you still say hand wash???

    • Hi Heather! Sorry to hear bout the bed bugs. The heat and methods needed to kill bed bugs might damage the shoe materials. We’d recommend reaching out to pest control. Good luck, and Run Happy!

  • Maryanne

    I am on my third pair of brooks, I have somewhat wide feet and the Renne seven and eight are a little narrower and it takes a while to really get broken in. What Brooks shoe should I consider that are wider with plenty of padding? I’m 5’ 8” and weigh 170, am age 65 female. Thank you


    I have worn Brooks Glycerin for a couple of years now, usually replacing every 6 months maximum. Wouldn’t buy any other trainer as the comfort and longevity is second to non. Just read the comments about washing your trainers and have to confess that I do wash mine in a machine usually once per month on a sports setting (cold wash) and with a very mild detergent. Have never had any issues but will try the soak and stuff with newspaper method next time. Keep on running!

    • colinofpascoevaleaustralia

      I’m taking a punt and machine washing my old pair now. I don’t run and these are very comfortable. I won’t put them through the dryer.

  • Nick Labrum

    I have a new pair of Brooks Mazama trail shoes, just wondering the best way to clean them. Reading below, would soaking them in warm water with a mild detergent and brushing off the excess whilst they’re damp be the trick?

    • Hey Nick. You got it! We recommend a good soak and hand washing with mild detergent. That should take care of the dirt you bring home from the trail!

      • Nick Labrum

        By mild detergent, is fairy liquid ok?! :-S

  • Fredrick

    What is the best way to deodorize the insoles? Can they be machined washed?
    Thank you!

    • A well-worn pair of running shoes may not smell as great as they feel and look. We get it! Help reduce shoe odor by investing in technical running socks that will help move sweat away from your foot efficiently. You can also try drying your shoes quickly after a run by removing the insoles to air dry or inserting old newspaper into them to soak up moisture and then removing the paper. If you choose to wash your shoes, we recommend hand washing with a gentle detergent and letting your shoes air dry.