How to Wash Gym Shoes


Anti-odor socks are helpful and all, but that will never change the fact that your gym shoes eventually get smelly in the long run due to the accumulation of sweat from your lower extremity as well as dirt from equipment’s surfaces such as treadmills. So, in order to thoroughly eliminate odor and stains from your favorite exercise footwear, learn how to wash gym shoes like a pro!

What Exactly Are Gym Shoes?

First of all, you ought to know that gym shoes do not actually represent a specific type of footwear. You can use different kinds of footwear and still call them your gym shoes. As long as a pair of shoes is effective for various physical activities indoors, then they are technically gym shoes.

Still not convinced how generic gym shoes are? Check out the following three categories that represent shoes that can be worn in the gym:

  • Treadmill

    The treadmill is a distinct gym equipment for it is the only machine that gives you perfect simulation of outdoor running. Interestingly, your endurance is not the only thing that makes you run on the treadmill for a long time. You really have to use the best running shoes for your feet. We are not talking about your feet’s size alone; even their form is a huge factor in choosing the most ideal running shoes for yourself.

    If your foot arch makes your feet move inwardly, you need to buy running shoes with the right kind of support. As an alternative, purchase insoles that can help you run continuously without straining your feet.

  • Weight Lifting

    When you choose to focus in the gym’s weights section, wear shoes that have flat outsoles with intense grips. Specifically, running shoes that have really thin cushioning are ideal. Never resort to thick-cushioned shoes. This part of gym training is probably the most dangerous one, so only wear the right shoes to enhance safety.

  • General Training

    If you are focusing on both strength and cardio training, high-performance shoes with excellent support features are recommended. These activities usually include nonstop shuffling and jumping. More about the shoes, they should be versatile for dynamic movement. So, they must have great support and grip as well as thicker cushioning and a wider toe box. To be more specific, simple cross-trainers are enough. They have ideal support for the ankles and arches without the extra weight. They are also lightweight and breathable to avoid internal overheating.

    Running and cross-training shoes are not the only types of footwear fit for gym training. They are just specific examples out of the general criteria. Feel free to use any pair of shoes you want as long as they are effective for your target gym activities.

How to Wash Gym Shoes

Can’t wait to make your gym shoes look brand-new again? Get to know the step-by-step method on how to wash gym shoes properly:

  • Cover insoles with baking soda overnight.

    You should go the extra mile in cleaning your gym shoes’ insoles. The smelliest section of footwear is usually the inside part. Insoles are typically removable, so remove them one night before the washing process. Then, fill a box with baking soda and put them there. Make sure that they are thoroughly coated. If they are not removable, simply spread baking soda inside the shoes.

    In case this information is new to you, baking soda is the ultimate home remedy for stinky feet since it is a natural antibacterial agent and fungicide.

  • Remove excess dirt.

    Imagine when you put muddy shoes in the washer. Gross, right? So, the next step is to eliminate all excess grime from the outer part of the shoes. Use a rag for wiping off solid substances such as grass and dried mud. If the rag does not work, use strong impact in shaking the grime off. You may rub the shoes together, or bang them up against the wall or each other. It goes without saying that you should do this outside.

    After removing excess dirt, you will surely find stains. Use a stain remover to ensure more effective cleaning. Just spray it on stains before washing the shoes.

  • Put shoelaces inside a mesh bag.

    Another initiative to avoid issues inside the washer is to remove the shoelaces. It also aims to ensure cleanliness around the shoes’ eyelets. After removing the laces put them in a small mesh laundry bag. This step ensures that they will not get all tangled up in the washer.

    Do not choose a different kind of laundry bag. Mesh is the only material that freely allows soap water to get inside. Additionally, mesh laundry bags are used for washing delicates.

  • Check if your gym shoes are machine washable.

    This is a crucial step. Before tossing your gym shoes into the washer, you have to be certain first if they are machine washable. Washers can be very aggressive to some materials, leading to damaged shoes. If your shoes have leather sections, keep them intact by only hand-washing them. Don’t worry; the previous steps are still applicable.

  • Follow the steps on how to wash gym shoes in the washer.

    If your gym shoes are totally machine washable, then give your 100% attention in this section. First, collect old or dark-colored towels and linens that you can put in the washer together with your dirty shoes and laces. As much as possible, fill the washer with these thick fabrics. This technique keeps your shoes safe from impact during the process. Linens and towels are like cushions for your shoes.

    Next, add liquid detergent. As always, follow the required amount for the load. Putting excessive amounts of detergent will just make your gym shoes stiff due to residue from too much suds. In addition, never use powdered detergent since its substances will just get stuck in every nook and cranny around the shoes.

    Lastly, set the washer to gentle cycle only and use cold water. Gentle cycle reduces the possibility of clunking inside the washer caused by the shoes’ impact against the surface. Meanwhile, cold water prevents shrinkage.

  • Air-dry only.

    After the washing process, whether by hand or machine, shake off excess water and insert balled-up newspaper into your gym shoes. Newspaper soaks up moisture, leading to faster drying. Then, air-dry your shoes and their laces. Never use a dryer since its heat can damage the shoes’ binding materials. The same idea goes when you leave the shoes under direct sunlight. Additionally, sunlight can shrink wet shoes.

    The best way to initially air-dry the shoes is by leaving them outside overnight. As a followup to speed up the drying process, feel free to use any kind of fan, air vent or dehumidifier.

  • Remove baking soda from the insoles.

    That’s right; you do not have to wash the insoles. Simply shake off the baking soda from the insoles after your gym shoes have completely dried out. To completely clean the insoles, use a soft brush.


As soon as you know how to wash gym shoes, you will surely feel more confident cleaning them by yourself instead of paying somebody to do it for you. Just a quick recap: simply leave the insoles in a box of baking soda overnight. Next, remove excess dirt from the shoes. Then, put the shoelaces in a small mesh laundry bag. After washing the shoes and laces together, air-dry them. Lastly, remove the insoles from the baking soda. Easy-peasy, right?