How To Deep Clean Cycling Shoes

May 17, 2018

How To Deep Clean Cycling Shoes

Stephen Steinberg, Founder of Raw Athletics and Vapor Fresh Stephen Steinberg | Updated April 13, 2021

[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:

Routine Maintenance Is The Name Of The Game

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
  • Use a shoe powder or cleaning spray (or both) to clean, deodorize and aid in the drying process

The Occasional Deep Clean

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:

Remove The Insole 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 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 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.

Use A Cleaning Spray To Eliminate Germs And Odors

Even after a deep rinse, your shoes and insoles may need an extra cleaning boost. You may want to spray them down with a cleaning spray designed for sports equipment so it won’t irritate your skin or ruin your equipment but still be strong enough to eliminate odors and germs. Vapor Fresh® Cleaning Spray was designed for this exact purpose.

Use A Shoe Powder To Aid The Drying Process

Shoe powder can assist by speeding up the drying process and making sure no moisture remains until 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 such as Vapor Fresh® Shoe Powder.

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 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!