How to Clean Cycling Shoes

So, you’ve taken the leap and have yourself a nice pair of cycling shoes for road or mountain bike riding. Congrats! A good pair of biking shoes, whether you’re riding clipless or flat pedals, helps with both comfort and power transfer while biking. To protect your investment and keep your cycling shoes in good condition, regular cleaning and maintenance is a must.

If you’re looking to keep those white road cycling shoes in pristine condition or just get the mud off your mountain biking shoes, check out our tips below!

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Quick-clean for cycling shoes

To keep your biking shoes in tip-top shape, it’s best to clean them often. With regular cleaning, you can keep discoloration and stains at bay with less cleaning products. 

After each ride: 

  • Wipe down your cycling shoes with a damp cloth.
  • Check your cleats, remove any chunks of dirt or mud with a brush.
  • Make sure your cleat bolts are tight and they haven’t moved out of position.
dirty white road cycling shoes

How to deep-clean cycling shoes

Let’s face it – sometimes life gets in the way and you can’t clean your biking shoes right away. Now you have dried, caked-on mud on your mountain biking shoes that won’t budge with a damp cloth or white road biking shoes that aren’t looking so white anymore. 

When it comes to cleaning your cycling shoes, it’s best to use minimal cleaning agents. Start simple with a wet rag. Not cutting it? Then move on to the steps below. If you’re satisfied with how clean your shoes look after the first couple of steps, then stop and call it a day! If not, keep going until you achieve your desired results. 

Materials:

  • Water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Cloth or sponge
  • Small, soft brush (like a used toothbrush) 
  • Baking soda
  • Cup
  • Magic Eraser
How to clean dirty cycling shoes

*Disclaimer: Any chemical detergent could potentially blemish the synthetic materials in Liv footwear. 

  1. Remove the insoles from your cycling shoes. Loosen BOA straps, if present. If your cycling shoes have laces, remove and wash separately. 
  2. Fill a small bucket with cool or warm  water if you are outside, or work inside over a large sink. You DO NOT need enough water to fully submerge your shoes. 
  3. Wet a cloth or sponge and wipe away large chunks of mud or debris.
  4. Add a small amount of a mild dish soap to the cloth or sponge and scrub the outside of the shoe. Use the soft brush to clean areas like buckles and cleats. 
  5. Rinse the cloth or sponge and wipe away remaining dirt and soap. Do not leave any soap residue on your shoes. (Do your shoes look clean? You could stop here!)
  6. If your shoes still have some discoloration or stubborn dirt – particularly on some of the softer materials like the tongue of the shoe, stitching or velcro straps – using baking soda and a soft brush can help release those stains. Pour some baking soda into a cup. Add a little water and stir with the brush to form a paste. Work the paste into the desired areas of the shoe with the soft brush. 
  7. Rinse the baking soda off the shoe completely using the damp cloth or sponge. (Do your shoes look clean? You could stop here!) 
  8. If you’re looking to get those white cycling shoes really spotless and combat stains on the harder surfaces of your shoes, a Magic Eraser should do the trick. Just wet the Magic Eraser sponge and wipe the surface of your shoe until clean. 
  9. Wet your cloth or sponge and wipe away any residue from the Magic Eraser.
how to dry cycling shoes after washing them

How to dry cycling shoes

Wow, your shoes look sparkling clean! Now you need to ensure they dry completely before your next ride. If your cycling shoes stay damp for too long, they will develop an obnoxious odor and it could cause additional wear and tear. When it comes to drying, here are some do’s and don’ts: 

Do: 

  • Loosen the straps/ BOA completely, if they aren’t already loose. 
  • Wipe off any excess water with a clean, dry towel. 
  • Stuff the shoes with newspaper and leave in a dry location until dry. (If you don’t get a newspaper at your house, here is a list of places you can find used newspapers. An alternative would be purchasing craft paper at your local hobby store.) 
  • You can use a boot dryer, just make sure the “heat” setting is turned off. 

Don’t:

  • Store your shoes when wet or damp.
  • Place your shoes on a heater or near a fire.
  • Use the heat setting on a boot dryer. (Too much heat could cause your shoes to warp and affect the fit)
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