Will Running in the Rain Ruin Running Shoes? (Answered)

Matea Matošević, Olympic Runner
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You have probably run at least once in the rain and asked yourself if your running shoes were ruined.

In this article, I will answer the question of whether running in the rain will ruin running shoes and I will explain in detail how to properly clean and dry them. By the end of the article, I will answer some frequently asked questions.

Will running in the rain ruin running shoes

Will running in the rain ruin running shoes?

Generally speaking, running in the rain will not ruin running shoes provided they are cleaned and dried properly after running. Running shoes should not be dried in a clothes dryer or with a hairdryer since they will probably be destroyed because of the material they are made of.

Below I will explain in detail how to properly clean and dry your running shoes, as well as answer some frequently asked questions.

How to clean running shoes?

1. Remove the insole from the running shoes and wash it

Before washing your running shoes, it is necessary to remove the insole. If you have running shoes without a removable insole, ignore this step. You can wash the insoles by hand or, if the running shoes are very dirty, you can wash them together with the shoes in a washing machine.

2. Remove dirt and mud from your running shoes

If you have been running on grass, dirt, or macadam while it was raining, it is necessary to remove all the dirt and mud from the running shoes. If the running shoes are full of mud, it will be necessary to soak them beforehand so that they can be cleaned. After the mud is removed from the running shoes, use a brush to remove dirt to keep your running shoes clean.

Tip

Do not forget to completely clean the soles with a brush, as well as the area where the upper part of the shoe joins the soles.  These are the hardest parts to clean and are easy to overlook.

3. Wash the running shoes in a washing machine by using cold water

If you are unable to completely clean your running shoes with a brush, wash them in a washing machine by using cold water. It is important to set your washing machine to cold wash since hot water can damage the material and glue from which the running shoes are made. Furthermore, set your washing machine to a delicate or hand wash setting to reduce the risk of damaging your running shoes.

Pour bleach-free washing detergent into your washing machine, over your running shoes or into the agitator. Avoid using washing detergents that contain bleach, as they will fade the colors of your running shoes and thus ruin them.

Tip

Wash only a single pair of running shoes at a time so as not to damage a washing machine. It is also useful to put a towel or some clothes with it so that your running shoes are not damaged from hitting in the washing machine.
How to clean and dry running shoes

How to dry wet running shoes?

1. Stuff the wet running shoes with newspapers

Now that your running shoes are clean, they need to be dried.

The best way to dry your running shoes, done by most runners, is by using newspapers. Stuff the running shoes with newspapers as they will soak up all the moisture out of your wet running shoes without any risk of damage.

To dry them on the outside, you can wrap your running shoes with a couple sheets of newspaper. Use a rubber band to fix the newspapers to the outside of your running shoes.

Place your running shoes to dry in a dry and airy space. Leave the running shoes to dry for 12 hours before removing the newspapers. After 12 hours, remove the newspapers from the running shoes and check if they are dry. If the shoes still aren’t dry, stuff them with dry newspapers and leave them to dry for a short time.

Tip

The newspaper will not only soak up all the water from your running shoes but will also remove unwanted odors. Therefore, you can stuff your running shoes with newspapers even if they are only sweaty.

 2. Use a fan to dry your running shoes

Another, faster way to dry your running shoes is by using a fan. Place wet insoles and running shoes directly in front of a fan. Set the fan to blow at the highest speed. Rapid flow of air through your running shoes will dry them a lot faster than by using only newspapers.

If you do not intend to check the dryness of your running shoes, set the fan with running shoes on overnight. When you wake up, your running shoes will be completely dry and ready for use.

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Can you dry your running shoes in a clothes dryer?

Running shoes should not be dried in a clothes dryer as the heat generated in the dryer will damage them. A clothes dryer can dry leather, melt glue, ruin the fabric from which the running shoes are made, and intensify unpleasant odors.

Can you dry your running shoes with a hairdryer?

Running shoes should not be dried with a hairdryer due to the heat generated by the dryer. A hairdryer will intensify unpleasant odors, as well as damage the materials and glue.

Furthermore, it is dangerous to leave a plugged hairdryer with a pair of wet running shoes unattended.  There could be a fire, so using a hairdryer for the purpose of drying running shoes is not only a danger to the shoes but to your home as well.

Can you dry your running shoes in the sun?

Running shoes should not be dried in the sun due to the heat that can damage the materials and the glue of the running shoes, as well as intensify unwanted odors. Likewise, sunlight can fade the colors of your running shoes.

Tip

If you want to dry your running shoes out in the open, place them in shade where there’s plenty of air circulation. That way, you will dry your running shoes without fading or damaging them with direct heat or sunlight.
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Matea Matošević
Matea Matošević
Article by:
Matea Matošević

Hi, I’m Matea! I’m Olympic Marathon Runner, founder, and writer behind OLYRUN.com. On this site, I provide help in the form of my knowledge and experience to all who love running and active living. Read more…