Running shoes get dirty – that’s a fact of life for any active runner.
While a little dirt may not seem like a big deal, letting it build up over time can lead to foul odors, bacterial growth, and damaged materials.
That’s why it’s important to wash your shoes regularly.
Altra shoes are designed for comfort and performance, with features like a FootShape toe box and a zero-drop platform.
Properly cleaning them will help maintain these special attributes and extend the life of your shoes.
Follow the tips below to learn the best way to wash Altra running shoes.
Table of Contents
Why You Should Wash Your Altra Shoes
Washing your shoes isn’t just about appearances. Here are three key reasons to make shoe cleaning a regular habit:
Remove Dirt and Debris
As you run down trails and streets, your shoes pick up small rocks, sand, and dirt. Over time, all this debris gets lodged in the outsole tread and buried deep in the midsole foam. If left alone, it can cause uneven wear and tear.
Washing removes all these little bits and pieces so they don’t end up grinding away at your shoe materials with every step.
Getting the dirt out will help your Altras maintain their cushioning and responsiveness for longer.
Regular cleaning also washes away stuck-on mud that can add unwanted weight to your shoes.
Keeping Altras free of debris helps preserve their characteristic lightweight feel underfoot.
The mix of dirt, sweat, and bacteria that accumulate in running shoes inevitably leads to unpleasant odors.
The moisture-wicking linings used in Altra models like the Escalante are ideal breeding grounds for stinky microbes.
Washing your shoes with detergent helps kill bacteria and remove dirt and sweat buildup that causes odors.
No one wants to deal with smelly shoes – washing them regularly will keep them fresher for longer.
Odors in your shoes can also transfer to your feet and socks. Preventing foot odor is another good reason to wash Altras often. Simply letting them air out between runs isn’t enough to fully remove odors.
Extend Shoe Life
All the dirt, debris, sweat, and odors that collect in running shoes cause material breakdown over time.
The midsole foam will degrade faster when repeatedly exposed to bacteria and moisture. Outsoles will wear down quicker when grit and rocks are embedded in the rubber.
By washing away these compounds, you slow the deterioration and extend the usable life of your Altras. The money you initially invested in quality shoes will pay off with more miles.
Washing also removes accumulated salt stains from sweat that can degrade shoes. Taking the time to properly clean Altras helps protect the material integrity so they can better perform their job – cushioning your feet mile after mile.
Supplies You’ll Need
Washing Altra or any other athletic shoes doesn’t require fancy equipment. You likely have everything you need already at home:
- Altra shoes (or any shoes you want to wash)
- Mild detergent
- Soft brush
- Microfiber cloth
Avoid harsh cleaners or chemicals that could damage shoe materials. Stick to gentle products without dyes or perfumes. White vinegar is a handy natural cleaning booster.
Gather all your supplies together before starting so the process goes smoothly.
Step-By-Step Washing Instructions
Follow these simple steps to get your Altras looking and smelling fresh:
Remove Laces and Insoles
Start by pulling out the laces and removable insoles (if your Altras have them). These parts can be cleaned separately to fully disinfect your shoes.
Set the laces aside to be washed in the sink or washing machine later. Use a mild detergent and let them air dry.
For removable insoles, scrub them with soap and water to remove dirt and sweat residue.
Let them dry fully before placing them back in shoes – moisture trapped under insoles is a recipe for odor issues.
Removing these parts gives you full access to clean the insides and undersides of your Altras where grime loves to hide. Don’t forget to scrub the insoles still attached inside the shoe when you wash the uppers.
Rinse Away Debris
Before applying any detergent, rinse your Altras under running water. This initial rinse helps wash away dirt, mud, and small pebbles that may be stuck on or embedded in the soles.
Hold them upside down and run water through the treads to flush out debris lodged deep in the sole grooves. Flicking them with your fingers can help dislodge ingrained grit.
Rinsing first prevents loose debris from becoming an obstacle when scrubbing. The cleaner the shoes at the start, the better your soap solution can penetrate materials.
Make a Soapy Solution
In a sink or bucket, mix up a cleaning solution of warm water and a small amount of mild detergent – liquid dish soap or laundry detergent both work well.
Stir the solution to create suds. You don’t need much soap – a teaspoon or two is plenty. too much detergent can be difficult to fully rinse out.
White vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or tea tree oil can be added to the wash water for extra disinfecting power and odor elimination. Use them sparingly though, as too much can damage shoe materials.
Scrub Every Surface
With your soapy wash solution ready, thoroughly scrub every surface of your shoes – inside and out, upper and sole. Use the soft brush to gently agitate the soapy water into materials.
Pay extra attention to the footbed, fabric linings, and any nooks and crannies where dirt loves to hide. The brush bristles will loosen debris and the sudsy solution will lift it away.
Take care of shoe logos, overlays, and printed areas. Scrub too hard and you could scratch the surfaces. A soft touch is all that’s needed to lift dirt without damage.
Work the soap solution into the treads with the brush to fully dislodge compacted mud and rocks.
For especially dirty shoes, let them soak for 15-20 minutes to loosen debris before scrubbing.
Once your Altras are scrubbed clean, thoroughly rinse away all soap residue under running water. Repeatedly dunk shoes and swish water through them until the water runs clear.
Detergent left in materials can eventually cause deterioration, so rinse, rinse again, and then rinse some more!
Persistent soap scum can be tackled with a splash of vinegar in the rinse water.
Wring excess water from your shoes when done rinsing. Stuff with newspaper or paper towels to absorb lingering moisture faster.
Never put wet shoes directly in the dryer or near heat – heat can damage glues and materials.
Once excess water is removed, allow your shoes to completely air dry before wearing them again. Place them in a breezy spot with good airflow, away from direct sun.
Placing shoes on a vent or fan can speed drying time, but take care not to over-dry materials. Excessive heat can cause glues and fabrics to become brittle and crack.
Insert clean, dry new insoles and replacement laces when shoes are fully dry. Enjoy the revived look and smell!
Extra Maintenance Tips
Extend the life of your freshly cleaned Altras with these extra care tips:
Use Shoe Trees
Shoe trees are designed to help shoes maintain their shape and absorb interior moisture. They make a great addition to your Altra cleaning routine.
Insert trees after washing and letting your shoe air dry fully. The cedar wood will continue pulling moisture out of materials to prevent bacteria growth.
Trees hold the toe box shape perfectly after washing may have slightly compromised it.
Leave trees inserted anytime you aren’t wearing your Altras to preserve the interior dimensions. The snug fit prevents creasing and curling that can occur when shoes are left empty.
Rotating between multiple pairs of shoes? Use trees in the ones not being worn that day.
For best results, make sure to use shoe trees specifically sized to your Altra model. A poor fit won’t optimize the moisture-wicking and shape retention benefits.
Apply Protector Spray
A waterproof protector spray adds an invisible barrier to guard your freshly cleaned shoes. Spraying a fine layer evenly over your Altras helps repel future dirt and moisture.
Before applying, make sure the shoes are totally clean and dry. Any residue left on materials will reduce the protector spray’s effectiveness.
Work in a well-ventilated area and shake the can vigorously. Hold 10-12 inches away and apply light, even coats over the uppers – excess saturation causes more harm than good. Let dry fully between coats.
Reapply protector spray after a few washes as needed when waterproof properties appear to weaken. For rainy runs, a fresh application helps water bead up and roll right off.
The spray film won’t affect your shoe’s breathability. But be sure to use a product specifically designed for athletic shoes, not heavy-duty sprays for leather boots.
Can Altra Shoes Be Machine Washed?
No, Altra shoes should not be machine-washed. Hand washing is the best way to clean them properly and extend the life of your shoes.
To do this, simply mix a mild detergent with warm water and lightly scrub the dirt areas on your shoe with a soft brush or cloth.
Once you have finished cleaning your shoes, rinse them in cold water and let them air dry away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
Can You Put Altra Shoes in the Dryer?
No, you cannot put Altra shoes in the dryer. Exposing your shoes to high temperatures can cause shrinkage, warping and even melting of materials.
Furthermore, it’s likely that the glue used to keep components of your shoe together could also be damaged by heat from a dryer.
To avoid these issues and prolong the life of your Altra shoes, hand-wash them with cold water and then air dry them away from direct sources of heat such as radiators or direct sunlight.
Are Altra Shoes Water Resistant?
Yes, Altra shoes are water-resistant. Their upper material is made of a breathable, waterproof membrane that helps keep your feet dry and comfortable in wet conditions.
As well as being water-resistant, the materials used also provide exceptional comfort and support while running or walking.
The soles of the shoes feature a proprietary MaxTrac rubber compound, which gives them superior grip on slippery surfaces such as wet roads and trails.
So no matter what kind of terrain you’re tackling, Altra’s footwear will help keep you from slipping up when it matters most — in all weather!
Altra Escalante Wash Test
Best Insoles for Altra Shoes
Altra shoes are known for their unique design that allows your toes to spread out, as well as providing a zero-drop sole.
To ensure the best fit and comfort when wearing Altra shoes, you should invest in insoles designed specifically for them.
The Superfeet Green Insoles offer great support and cushioning while helping to reduce fatigue from long walks or hikes.
Additionally, the Spenco Total Support Thin Insoles provide arch support and help reduce foot pain caused by overpronation.
Both of these insoles are perfect for those looking to get the most out of their Altra shoes!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often should I wash my Altra shoes?
A: Aim to wash Altras every 2-3 weeks if you run regularly. Wash immediately after muddy or extremely dirty runs.
Q: Can I wash Altras in the washing machine?
A: Handwashing is best to avoid damage from agitation. If machine washing, use cold water and gentle cycle. Avoid the dryer.
Q: What cleaning products damage Altra shoes?
A: Avoid harsh detergents, chemicals, and solvents that can degrade materials. Stick to mild soap and gentle brushing.
Q: How do I remove bad smells from my Altras?
A: Washing with vinegar added to the water helps eliminate odors. Baking soda and tea tree oil also absorb shoe odors.
Q: How do I dry Altras quickly after washing?
A: Stuff with newspaper to absorb moisture faster. Air dry in a breezy spot, not direct sun. Avoid heat which can damage shoes.
The Finish Line
Regularly washing your Altra running shoes keeps them performing and looking their best.
A simple at-home cleaning helps remove odor-causing bacteria, debris that accelerates wear and tear, and dirt that weighs shoes down.
Following the steps above allows you to revive your Altras after dirty runs. Don’t let grime ruin a great pair of shoes – wash them often so they can keep you comfortably racking up the miles!