How To Deep Clean Cycling Shoes

How To Deep Clean Cycling Shoes

[Note: If you have a Peloton bike, here's our guide to keeping your Peloton shoes odor-free and our guide on how to properly clean your Peloton.

Whether you’re cycling in a spin class or a triathlon, one thing is for certain-- your cycling shoes will be dripping in sweat and completely disgusting after you’re done.

Repeat this over and over again without a proper cleaning regimen and you have a recipe for some nasty shoes.

Here are our tips for cleaning your cycling shoes to return them back to their new, clean glory days:

Routine Cleaning For Cycling Shoes

By cleaning your cycling shoes immediately after use, they will never really have a chance to get truly disgusting and you’ll able to enjoy them for much longer.

Immediately after every ride, we recommend you follow this cleaning regimen:

  • Use a brush or damp towel to wipe away dirt, grime and sweat on the outside and undercarriage
  • Unbuckle the shoe as much as possible and remove the insole to allow for proper ventilation
  • Spray them down with a sports shoe cleaning spray  to eliminate the odors and leave your shoes smelling clean

How To Deep Clean Your Cycling Shoes To Return Them To Like-New Condition

Every once in a while, you’ll need to do a deep clean on your cycling shoes in order to keep them fresh and in working condition. For the deep cleans, we recommend the following:

First, Remove The Cycling Shoe Insoles And Rinse With Warm Soapy Water

The insoles absorb almost all of the sweat that comes off your feet, so you’ll want to give them special attention. Don’t be afraid to submerge them in a bucket of warm, soapy water. If you don’t have a bucket you can submerge them in a sink or just soap them up and run them under warm water.

Rinse The Cycling Shoes Thoroughly With Warm Soapy Water

Whatever method you just used to wash your insoles, repeat with your shoes. Again, don’t be afraid to submerge them in warm soapy water, they’ll be fine. If you had mud and dirt on your shoes, this is also a good time to take a brush or wet towel and rub down the outside and undercarriage of the shoes to remove all the dirt and debris.

Begin Air Drying Everything Immediately

Once you’re done washing your insoles and shoes, you’ll want to begin air drying them immediately. Germs thrive in dark moist environments, so the sooner your shoes dry out the less of a chance there is for any remaining bacteria to grow. Make sure your shoes are as unbuckled as possible and keep them in a well ventilated environment- not in a gym bag or a closet! Don’t put the insoles back in until both the shoes and the insoles are completely dry. You're going to want everything to dry naturally, so avoid the use of any external heat sources like blow dryers or the sun. That sort of external heat can warp the materials in your shoes and compromise their integrity and performance.

Use A Cleaning Spray To Eliminate Germs And Odors

To finish off your deep clean after everything air dries completely, you should spray the insoles and the shoes down with a cleaning spray designed for shoes and sports equipment. Vapor Fresh® Cleaning Spray is perfect for cleaning and deodorizing your shoes for many reasons:

  • Zero harsh chemicals. Vapor Fresh Cleaning Spray utilizes the natural power of plants to clean instead of the harsh chemicals found in other sports and shoe sprays.
  • Non-irritating and non-toxic. A shoe cleaning spray may eventually come in contact with your skin. Vapor Fresh will not cause any irritation.
  • Designed to eliminate tough odors. Vapor Fresh Cleaning Spray is strong enough to eliminate the toughest odors from all sports equipment, all footwear and all gym equipment.
  • Easy to use. Simply spray Vapor Fresh on your shoes and insoles and allow everything to air dry. No wiping necessary!

Put Your Insoles Back In And You’re Ready For Your Next Ride

Once everything is completely dry, put your insoles back in your shoes and make sure they're in their proper position.

Use A Shoe Powder To Ensure Everything Remains Dry

Shoe powder can help prevent moisture from accumulating in your shoes before your next ride. When choosing a shoe powder, make sure you choose one without talc due to the associated health concerns, and that if they use fragrance, they only use natural fragrances. Shoe powders are great to use between rides, but be sure to shake out all excess powder prior to putting your cycling shoes back on to ensure a proper fit.

Can You Put Your Cycling Shoes In The Washing Machine?

If you want to clean every detail, hand washing with a bucket is the safest and best bet. But yes, most cycling shoes are fine to wash in the washing machine as long as you take proper precautions. It's also best to check with the shoe's manufacturer as well. In general, washing on a gentle or hand wash cycle with cool water is considered safe. To prevent the shoes from banging around, some people also wash them along with towels or put them inside pillow cases to wash them.

What Is The Best Cleaning Spray For Cycling Shoes?

We believe Vapor Fresh Sports Cleaning Spray is the best spray for all footwear, especially cycling shoes for three reasons. First, it's specifically designed to eliminate tough odors. Second, it gets the job done safely and naturally without the use of harsh irritating chemicals. And third, it's plant based and easy to use - simply spray and allow to air dry.

How Can You Make Your Cycling Shoes Bright Again?

The secret to fresh bright cycling shoes is to simply never allow them to get too dirty. So regular cleanings will help keep them looking newer for longer. But to brighten them up a bit more, we recommend hand washing in a warm bucket of soapy water and cleaning the outsides of your cycling shoes with a soft bristle tooth brush.

How Can You Eliminate And Prevent Odors From Your Cycling Shoes?

Bad odors from your cycling shoes stem from bacteria, so the main objective for eliminating and preventing odors is eliminating and preventing germs. Deep cleaning will effectively remove many of the germs embedded in your cycling shoes. The mistake many people make is reassembling their shoes and putting them away in storage before they are completely dry. Germs thrive in dark, moist environments so it's best to allow them to air dry completely as soon as possible after using them as well as after washing them.

Trust Vapor Fresh To Keep Your Shoes And Sports Gear Fresh

You’re all set for your next ride! We hope you enjoyed these tips on how to clean your cycling shoes and how Vapor Fresh® products can help you stay fresh, clean and safe!

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