Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Clean Really Muddy Running Shoes

My last post was long and philosophical.   This one is pictorial and practical.

The implication of running the HUFF 50K through lots of mud is really muddy shoes.  You can see me here around mile 29...check the shoes.

From Running-General

The shoes are supposed to be light grey...but are solid black.

When the race ended, I walked to my car and retrieved my cold, soggy feet from their mud-caked cocoon.  I sensed a photo series possible.

From Running-General
I stowed these beauties in separate plastic bags in the trunk of my car, letting them ferment.

The following afternoon, I laid into them.  First I removed the shoe laces.  Then, I put them in a 5 gallon bucket and hacked away with a stiff brush to get the bulk of the mud off.  Had the race happened in the summer, I would have done this with a hose in the backyard...but in the Indiana winter, it was a bucket indoors.

From Running-General
This is a time for "tough love"...scrub like crazy and get the gunk off.  No reason to be gentle at all.

Meanwhile, I rinsed and rerinsed the shoelaces and socks, then put them into a bleach solution.  This photo was after the third rinse, such was the grime.

From Running-General
At this point, I tried something new.  On the drive home from the race, Brian mentioned he had once just put his shoes right in the washing machine.  As I looked at my shoes, I figured I had nothing to lose, so I tried it as well.

I pulled out the insoles and threw in both shoes, sans shoelaces still.  I looked really hard in the owners manual to find the "Running Shoe Cycle" but didn't come across it.

From Running-General

So, I set the machine on a medium load to get plenty of water in the machine, hot water wash, warm water rinse, gentle cycle.  I put in plenty of detergent and four glugs of bleach just to de-gunk the puppies.  (I hope I haven't lost you in the technical language)

A half hour later, out they came.  Shoes were wet but clean.  The insoles held up well, it seemed.

From Running-General

I did NOT put the shoes in the dryer!  I just let them air dry for a few days.  Had I needed the shoes more quickly, I could have stuffed newspapers in them.  The shoelaces dried too.

Relacing the shoes, these babies were ready to go, looking none the worse for spending 7 hours and 50km tromping through mud and water.

From Running-General

This pair of Brooks Beasts (my 12th pair of Beasts, by the way...did I ever mention I like Brooks shoes??!!) now has 620 miles on them.  I wore them on a regular training run yesterday and they felt great. 

Hope you've had some fun with the photos!!  Don't ever give up on a pair of shoes just due to a muddy trail run!!

Persevere!!


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9 comments:

reoracer (Jen) said...

I just wore mine into the shower at the campground after the race... the laces were frozen, as were my fingers, and there was no other way I was going ot get them off anyhow, so what did I have to lose? Then I took them into the shower again when I got home and stuffed them with newspaper a couple times over the next 2 days. I do think they've got some more miles in them yet!

Darrell said...

I remember rinsing my shoes off in the shower after the Tecumseh race. I washed by shoes in the washer plenty of times. It works great!

Mike said...

Thanks for the info on the shoes Joe. I usually spray mine with a water hose and then wash them with the bleach also.Sometimes the wife gets a little fussy though.

Jeff said...

Nice story! Thought about cleaning mine after the run, but figured it wouldn't last. Was back on those trails again this weekend, and if anything, the shoes are muddier this time around since there was no water to run through and kinda rinse them off!

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leatherslippers said...

Wow, they look almost like brand new. The easiest to clean is leather footwear and for home use slippers, and I have got no problem with that cleaning just witha dump cloth.

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Anonymous said...

Bleach is very harmful to the environment. Try a bleach alternative. They work just as well as bleach, but without harmful effects.

New Balance Trail Running Shoes said...

I must say they the shoes quality is very high and after wash they look almost like brand new. I like the idea.