Gym shoes can get pretty smelly. After all, we wear them to work out. Keeping them clean is a good idea – both for yourself and others at the gym!
But what’s the best way to clean your gym shoes? Can you put them in the washing machine? Let’s find out.
Can You Put Gym Shoes in the Washing Machine?
Provided your gym shoes are made of anything but leather or suede, you should be fine to put them in the washing machine.
Non-animal-based materials can be washed on a cold (30-degree Celsius) delicate cycle with little issue.
Of course, make sure you check your shoes’ care instructions first if you still have them.
Gym shoe materials that can be machine-washed include:
Make sure your gym shoes don’t have any leather or suede panels or detailing. You can find this out by checking the size label, which should be sewn on the inside of the tongue.
If you see the leather symbol (a tiny animal skin diagram), don’t put them in the washing machine.
How to Machine Wash Gym Shoes
Putting your gym shoes in the washing machine is a simple process. Simply do the following:
- Remove laces and insoles, which should be washed separately.
- Put each shoe in a mesh washing bag or pillowcase.
- Set the washing machine to a 30-degree delicate cycle with low spin (such as 800 RPM).
- After the cycle has finished, stuff each shoe with newspaper to reshape them and absorb excess moisture.
- Dry somewhere out of direct sunlight and away from direct heat.
Insoles and laces should be washed by hand in a bowl of warm water with a small amount of laundry detergent. Rinse them in clean water and hang to dry.
Washing Gym Shoes by Hand
You can also wash your gym shoes by hand. While it takes a bit longer, it’s still not difficult.
Fill a bowl with warm water and a small amount of laundry detergent and then scrub the shoes with an old toothbrush.
Avoid submerging the shoes, as they’ll take too long to dry out.
This is the better option if your shoes have any suede or leather on them. It’s not ideal to get these materials wet, but washing by hand is much better than machine washing.
Should You Wash Gym Shoes?
The short answer is that yes, you should absolutely wash your gym shoes.
The extra sweat (compared to regular shoe wearing) can cause the shoes to degrade faster, and dirty shoes also increase your risk of athlete’s foot and other fungal conditions.
As for how often you wash them, it depends on how often you go to the gym.
If you go a few times a week, once a fortnight should be fine. Simply adjust your washing schedule based on your gym frequency.
The advantage of most gym shoes is that the materials used are fine to machine wash.
Of course, make sure you check this carefully first, as you don’t want to ruin your shoes by attempting to clean them!
Jacob is a freelance writer based in Wales, where he lives with his partner and two dogs. All his work is fuelled by extensive research and buckets of coffee.