Can running shoes be machine washed?

Wewho run love our shoes, so we would always want them neat and clean. However, we are also human beings and therefore we are lazy: if we have to choose between hand or machine washing, we have little doubt: we choose the latter.

However, we have also been warned that we should never use it to wash our loved ones, for a variety of reasons but mainly because the heat can alter the glues and impair the mechanical and elastic characteristics of the midsole foams. The answer would seem obvious: you cannot machine wash them. Instead, it depends. What on? Let’s see.

Materials, mode, type of washing and drying

You decided you want to wash them in the washing machine. First make sure that their materials can withstand it: while for most shoes today the mesh of the uppers is made of plastic material that well withstands water and heat, there are two exceptions to consider:

  1. Shoes with suede panels: if you think only shoes from a few years ago used this material, think twice. The adidas adizero Boston 10 for example have suede inserts in the toe box, and we are talking about super performance running shoes, not sneakers.
  2. Waterproof shoes: it seems like a nonsense but the very fact that they are waterproof makes them more sensitive to washing. In fact, the temperature of the water can affect the waterproofing treatment.

Good: If your shoes do not fall into the previous two categories, you can proceed with machine washing. But not before some other arrangements.


  1. Before putting them in the basket, remove the inner slab (you can wash it separately)
  2. wash off coarser soil and dirt residue on the sole and upper and laces
  3. stuff them in a cloth bag (mesh ones are fine, too): this will contain them and prevent them from bumping into the basket, denting it.
  4. Add some towels to further cushion the bounces inside


  1. Use less detergent than you would normally use
  2. Wash with centrifuge and never use temperatures above 40°C (104°F)


  1. Never use the dryer
  2. put them in a dry place and let them dry only with room air. They will take longer but you won’t damage them
  3. do not put them near radiators to avoid overheating, compromising bonding and foam quality.

What to do if you can’t machine wash them because of the materials or because they are waterproof? There is handwashing, which we explain here.

(Main image credits: Professor25 on


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