It may not seem like an important part of the process but keeping your kit clean, especially your shoes, can warrant positive effects. For one, it’ll entice you to slip the shiny, clean shoes on and get out there for a run. You don’t want to leave it too long before you wash them either as this can lead to them becoming worn, prompting you to drop money unnecessarily on a new pair.
Let’s start with arguably the most important investment of all: your shoes. It’s often said that the first time you meet someone, you’re judged on a number of factors – with three of the main counts being your hair, handshake and footwear. Keeping your running shoes clean is vital, and to get the best results we need to prep the shoes first. The first step will be to let the mud and dirt that has accumulated on the shoes dry. This is done for efficiency as it will speed everything up and it’s probably recommended that they’re left outside to dry. The dried mud can then be brushed off carefully; most of the time, it will crumble off easily if you dab at it with a paper towel or simply knock it against a hard surface.
Take the laces out of the shoe as they can often be the dirtiest part. It’s probably best to throw them in with a fresh pile of laundry as they’re not too delicate and a simple wash will do the job just fine. For newer shoes, you’ll want to keep the laces as strong as can be for as long as possible but if they’re an older pair, you may wish to replace them with less worn, cleaner laces.
For a more thorough clean, remove the insole/sock-liner of the shoe and set it aside. Whilst some may wish to throw them in the washing machine, it’s best to do the cleaning by hand as this will keep them from becoming stretched out. A mild detergent and a rag will work best and if they are particularly smelly, perhaps toss a bit of baking soda on them to absorb the odour.
Be sure to clean inside and out, dabbing gently so as to not leave any marks on the texture. As mentioned, use a mild soap or detergent if they’re new shoes but, if not, then consider putting them in the washing machine for efficiency.
It’s essential that the shoes don’t go in the dryer as direct heat will have a drastic effect, altering their shape which, in turn, will impact the support they give you whilst you run. Instead, ensure they’re somewhere well ventilated, an example of this being outside provided the weather is suitable.
Another tip is to stuff white paper or cotton inside so that whatever happens, their shape remains intact. It will also help to absorb the dampness of the shoe, speeding up the drying process. When they’re completely dry, you can place the insoles and laces back in and give it a final rub down with a dry paper towel to clean any last marks that may have appeared during the process.