Trail running is a thrilling and challenging sport that exposes your running shoes to dirt, mud, rocks, and other harsh elements of nature. Knowing how to clean trail running shoes is essential for maintaining their performance, durability, and keeping your feet comfortable and healthy. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of properly cleaning and maintaining your trail running shoes, ensuring they stay in great condition and ready for your next trail adventure.
Materials needed for cleaning trail running shoes
To effectively clean trail running shoes, you’ll need the following materials:
1. Soft-bristle brush or toothbrush
2. Lukewarm water
3. Mild soap or detergent
4. Old towels or rags
5. Optional: shoe cleaning spray or foam
6. Optional: anti-odor spray
Removing dirt and debris from your trail running shoes
Before you start cleaning your trail running shoes, make sure to remove as much dirt and debris as possible. This will make the cleaning process easier and more effective.
1. Knock your trail running shoes together to remove loose dirt and stones.
2. Use a soft brush to gently remove caked-on mud and debris from the exterior fabric and soles of the shoes.
3. Rinse your shoes with lukewarm running water to remove any remaining dirt.
Cleaning the exterior of your trail running shoes
Now that you’ve removed the majority of the dirt from your trail running shoes, it’s time to give them a thorough cleaning.
1. Mix a mild soap or detergent with lukewarm water in a sink or basin. Dish soap or washing powder works well for this purpose.
2. Use a soft brush to gently scrub the exterior fabric and soles of your trail running shoes, paying special attention to any areas with stubborn stains or dried mud.
3. Rinse your shoes thoroughly with clean water to remove the soap and any remaining dirt.
4. Optional: Apply a shoe cleaning spray or foam to the exterior fabric of your shoes for extra cleaning power. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
Cleaning the interior of your trail running shoes
Cleaning the interior of your trail running shoes is essential for maintaining a comfortable fit and preventing odors.
1. Remove the insoles and laces from your trail running shoes. These should be cleaned separately.
2. Use a soft brush to clean the insoles and laces with a mixture of mild soap and lukewarm water.
3. Rinse the insoles and laces thoroughly with clean water and set them aside to air dry.
4. Wipe down the interior of your shoes with a damp cloth or sponge, making sure to clean any dirt or debris from the inside.
5. Rinse the interior of your shoes with clean water to remove any soap residue.
Drying your trail running shoes
Proper drying is crucial for maintaining the integrity and comfort of your trail running shoes. Follow these steps to ensure a safe and effective drying process:
1. Stuff your shoes with old towels or rags to absorb excess moisture. You can also use paper towels or newspaper for this purpose, but be aware that ink may transfer onto your shoes.
2. Place your trail running shoes in a well-ventilated room or area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Exposure to direct sunlight or heat can damage the materials and cause your shoes to lose their shape.
3. Allow your shoes to air dry completely before wearing them again. This may take anywhere from several hours to a full day, depending on the humidity and temperature of your drying environment.
4. Optional: Use a fan or other air-circulating device to speed up the drying process. Be sure to keep the fan at a safe distance from your shoes to avoid damaging them with excessive airflow.
Maintaining your trail running shoes between cleanings
Regular maintenance is essential for keeping your trail running shoes in optimal condition between cleanings. Follow these tips to ensure your shoes stay clean and ready for your next run:
1. After each trail run, knock off any loose dirt and debris from your shoes. This will prevent caked-on mud and make your next cleaning session easier.
2. Store your trail running shoes in a well-ventilated area to prevent the growth of bacteria and odors. Avoid storing them in a humid environment, as this can promote mold growth.
3. Rotate between multiple pairs of trail running shoes to allow for proper drying time and help prolong the life of your shoes.
4. If your trail running shoes have a Gore-Tex membrane or other waterproofing features, be sure to re-waterproof them as needed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Preventing and Eliminating Odors in Trail Running Shoes
One common issue trail runners face is the development of unpleasant odors in their shoes. While proper cleaning and maintenance can help prevent this problem, there are additional steps you can take to keep your trail running shoes smelling fresh.
Use moisture-wicking socks
Wearing moisture-wicking socks can help prevent the buildup of sweat and bacteria in your trail running shoes, reducing the chance of unpleasant odors developing.
Sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes
Baking soda is a natural odor absorber and can help neutralize unpleasant smells in your trail running shoes. After cleaning and drying your shoes, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda inside and let it sit overnight. Before your next run, simply shake out the excess baking soda.
Use an anti-odor spray
There are several shoe-specific anti-odor sprays available on the market that can help eliminate and prevent odors in your trail running shoes. Apply the spray according to the manufacturer’s instructions after cleaning and drying your shoes.
Allow your shoes to breathe
After each run, loosen the laces and pull out the tongue of your shoes, allowing them to air out in a well-ventilated area. This promotes airflow and helps to prevent the growth of bacteria that can cause odors.
Avoid washing your shoes in the washing machine
While it may be tempting to toss your dirty trail running shoes in the washing machine for a quick clean, doing so can damage the shoes and make odors worse. The heat and agitation of the washing machine can break down the materials and cause odors to become trapped in the shoe’s fabric.
Don’t use a tumble dryer
Using a tumble dryer to dry your trail running shoes can cause damage to the materials and may exacerbate odor problems. The high heat can break down the glue and other components in your shoes, making it more difficult for odors to escape. Always air dry your shoes in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
By following these additional tips, you can help prevent and eliminate odors in your trail running shoes, ensuring a more comfortable and enjoyable running experience.
Final Thoughts: How to clean trail running shoes?
Properly cleaning and maintaining your trail running shoes is essential for ensuring their performance, durability, and the overall health of your feet. By following this comprehensive guide, you can keep your trail running shoes in top condition and enjoy many more miles on the trails. So go ahead, tackle that muddy trail with confidence, knowing that your shoes will be clean and ready for your next run.