How To Wash The Smell Out Of Your Vibram FiveFingers

For cleaning regular shoes and cleats, see our guide on how to clean and deodorize shoes. For information on how to wash sports apparel, please see our Guidelines for Washing Sports Apparel.

People LOVE wearing Vibram FiveFingers for many different reasons. But one thing all Vibram FiveFinger users can agree on is that they smell really bad. Really, really bad.

Luckily, you can continue to push your body to the limit without having your Vibram FiveFingers smell like that.

Here is our official guide to getting the smell out of your Vibram FiveFingers--

1. HAND-WASH YOUR VIBRAM FIVEFINGERS TO RINSE OFF DEBRIS

Like any shoe, your FiveFingers will accumulate dirt and debris. What’s nice about Vibram FiveFingers is that they are durable enough and constructed with materials that make them safe and easy to rinse under a sink faucet. This is the first step in getting your Vibrams smelling like new again. The more thorough you are in this first step, the better you will set yourself up for a truly clean pair of FiveFingers. Make sure to get deep in the toe pockets and rinse as much water as possible through all the crevices inside and out.

2. SOAK IN VINEGAR OR VAPOR FRESH® LAUNDRY DETERGENT

[This step can be skipped if time does not permit, but it is necessary to get the best clean possible]

Now with all the dirt and debris washed away from the inside and outside of your FiveFingers, find a container large enough to soak them in, and let them soak for a few hours in either a 1:1 water-to-vinegar mixture, or in water with 1 scoop of Vapor Fresh Laundry Detergent Powder.

Get creative with your container-- we’ve seen people use large ziplock bags, large empty plastic snack containers, sinks, etc. Or if you’re using the detergent soak, you can simply move on to step 3 but pause the wash cycle mid-cleaning and let your Vibram FiveFingers soak in the washing machine.

3. MACHINE WASH WITH VAPOR FRESH® LAUNDRY DETERGENT

Because Vibram FiveFingers are so durable, they can be safely tossed in the washing machine for a thorough wash on the gentle cycle. The most important part of this step is what detergent you choose to use, and there are a number of things you should look for in a high-performance laundry detergent when cleaning your FiveFingers--

  • Use a powder detergent. Powder detergents typically have stronger cleansing power, especially with sports performance fabrics found in your Vibram FiveFingers
  • Stay “free and clear” of artificial fragrances. Aside from the negative health consequences some people experience from these additives, all they do is cover up the odor. Don’t you want to be sure that your Vibrams are smelling fresh because they are actually fresh and not just being covered up by some cheap fragrances?
  • Avoid fabric softeners. Fabric softeners can leave a residue on performance fabrics that trap bacteria, dirt and debris in the tiny pores of the fabric, resulting in reduced wicking performance and nasty lingering smells. Avoid this disaster and go with a detergent that is completely free of fabric softeners.

Vapor Fresh® Laundry Detergent (available on Amazon) meets all these requirements for washing Vibram FiveFingers.

4. AIR DRY YOUR VIBRAM FIVEFINGERS

After the washing machine, skip the dryer and instead air dry your Vibrams. You could leave them out in the sun for a bit, but be careful not to leave them there too long as the sun can damage and warp the material over time. Air drying indoors on a towel is perfectly fine.

5. SPRAY WITH VAPOR FRESH® CLEANING SPRAY

[This step can be skipped if time does not permit, but it is necessary to get the best clean possible]

If you need some extra odor-eliminating power or would just like to give your Vibrams a nice scent, spraying some Vapor Fresh Sports Odor Eliminator inside and outside your Vibram FiveFingers and allowing them to quickly dry will do the trick.

6. ENJOY YOUR NEWLY FRESH VIBRAM FIVEFINGERS!

The most important step-- go enjoy your fresh and clean Vibram FiveFingers, train hard, and repeat!

Play Hard. Finish Fresh.

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