How to Clean Road Bike Shoes: Expert Tips and Tricks

To clean road bike shoes, wipe them with a damp cloth and remove the insoles, then wash the shoes in a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. For tough stains, use a soft-bristled brush and avoid bleach or harsh chemicals.

Road bike shoes are critical for any serious cyclist. These shoes have sturdy soles that can transfer power to the pedals easily, making them more efficient. However, they also get dirty easily with everyday use or intensive cycling. Sweat, mud, and other debris can accumulate on the shoes and make them look dirty, which can be distracting for cyclists.

Moreover, dirty shoes can also harbor bacteria and fungi that can cause foot odor, infections, or blisters. Therefore, it’s crucial to clean road bike shoes regularly to prolong their lifespan and maintain their performance. In this article, we’ll show you step-by-step how to clean road bike shoes like a pro.

How to Clean Road Bike Shoes: Expert Tips and Tricks


Importance Of Clean Road Bike Shoes

Why Clean Road Bike Shoes Are Crucial For Optimal Performance

Cleanliness is essential when it comes to road bike shoes. There are several reasons why keeping your road bike shoes clean is crucial for optimal performance. Here are some of the key points:

  • Clean shoes can improve your bike handling and decrease your risk of injury. Dirty shoes can cause slipping on pedals and inability to maintain firm grip, which can result in uncontrolled movements and falls.
  • Dirt and stains on the shoes can also affect the shoe’s breathability, causing sweating that can make your feet uncomfortable and limit your performance.
  • Clean shoes can last longer, saving you money in the long run.

Risks Of Not Cleaning Road Bike Shoes Regularly

Not cleaning your road bike shoes regularly can have some serious repercussions; here are some of the risks associated:

  • Accumulated dirt can cause damage to the materials of the shoes, shorten their lifespan, and eventually lead to their failure.
  • With time, debris and dust can block the vents and affect the shoe’s breathability, making your feet sweatier and smellier. This can also be an open invitation to bacteria and fungi to grow on your shoes, making them unhealthy to wear.
  • A buildup of dirt can blur the markings that help you correctly position your cleats on the shoe. This can cause discomfort, pain, and performance issues as your foot will not be correctly aligned with the pedal.

Importance Of Proper Cleaning Techniques

It is not just about keeping your road bike shoes clean, but it’s also essential to clean them the correct way. Here’s why:

  • Harsh or unsuitable cleaning agents can harm the delicate materials of your cycling shoes. It’s necessary to choose the right solvent and tools that will not damage or discolor the shoes.
  • Scouring too hard could chip the finish of your shoes or even loosen some of the decorative elements on the top of the shoe.
  • It’s vital to remove the insoles and loosen laces to get to all the grit and grime that can collect inside the shoe. This will help keep the shoe fresh and odor-free when not in use.

Remember, taking good care of your road bike shoes is essential for optimal performance, durability, and overall hygiene. A clean shoe can also enhance your riding experience and help you crush those cycling goals.

Cleaning Supplies

How To Clean Road Bike Shoes – Cleaning Supplies

Road bike shoes take a lot of abuse. They get dirty and stinky with sweat, mud, and road grime. This can affect the shoes’ performance, make them smell unpleasant, and harbor bacteria. A clean pair of shoes keeps you comfortable and prevents unwanted wear and tear.

Here are the essential tools and cleaning solutions you need to clean road bike shoes:

Essential Tools And Cleaning Solutions For Cleaning Road Bike Shoes:

To clean your road bike shoes, you will need different tools and solutions depending on the material of the shoes. Here’s what you should have in your cleaning kit:

  • A soft-bristled brush or toothbrush
  • Mild soap or laundry detergent
  • Warm water
  • Clean towel or rag
  • Newspaper or cloth to stuff inside the shoes to absorb moisture
  • Oxy clean or vinegar solution for stubborn stains

The Importance Of Using The Right Cleaning Solutions

Using the right cleaning solutions is crucial in cleaning road bike shoes. The wrong product can damage the shoe’s material and color. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia as they can damage the shoes’ color and material.
  • Use a mild soap or laundry detergent to clean shoes. They are gentle enough to clean without causing damage.
  • For stubborn stains, try an oxy clean or vinegar solution. Apply the solution to the affected area and wait for a few minutes before scrubbing with the soft-bristled brush. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

How To Choose The Right Cleaning Tools For Different Kinds Of Road Bike Shoes

Different materials require different care. Here’s how to choose the right cleaning tools:

  • For synthetic leather: Use a mild soap or laundry detergent with warm water and a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt and stains. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives that can scratch the surface.
  • For suede or nubuck: Use a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt and restore the texture. Avoid using water or harsh chemicals as they can ruin the material. Use a specialized cleaner for suede or nubuck.
  • For mesh or fabric: Use warm water and a mild soap to clean the shoes. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals as they can damage the mesh or fabric. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the shoes.

Keep your road bike shoes clean to ensure they last longer, smell better, and function well. With these essential tools and cleaning solutions, cleaning your road bike shoes should be a breeze.

Step-By-Step Guide To Clean Road Bike Shoes

Road bike shoes undoubtedly undergo a lot of wear and tear, given their frequent on-track and road use. You may have several pairs of bike shoes in your collection, but with time, they might start showing the signs of prolonged use, such as dirt accumulation, odor, and discoloration.

It’s essential to keep your shoes clean, both for hygienic purposes and ensuring that they last longer. In this blog, we’ll provide step-by-step guidelines on how to clean road bike shoes.

Pre-Cleaning Steps For Preparing The Shoes

Before you start cleaning your road bike shoes, make sure you have all of the necessary equipment and tools. These items include:

  • Old toothbrush for scrubbing
  • Mild detergent or soap
  • Warm water
  • Towel for cleaning and drying the shoes

Here are some other pre-cleaning steps to prepare your shoes for the cleaning process:

  • Remove the insoles from the shoes. This will allow you to reach the deepest, most challenging areas of the shoes and assure a thorough cleaning.
  • Use a soft, dry brush or cloth to remove any loose dirt or debris on the exterior. This pre-cleaning step makes it easier to deep clean the shoes later.
  • Unlace the shoes completely. Make sure to save the laces to clean separately.

How To Clean The Exterior Of The Shoes

When cleaning the exterior of your road bike shoes, follow this step-by-step guide:

  • Fill a basin with warm water and add mild detergent/soap to it.
  • Dip the toothbrush into the soapy water and gently scrub the exterior of the shoes.
  • Scrub the shoes thoroughly, focusing mainly on areas with dirt accumulation.
  • After you’ve completed the cleaning, rinse the shoes thoroughly with warm water to remove any remaining soap.
  • Use a towel to dry the shoes. Make sure to stuff the shoes with kitchen roll or a newspaper to retain shape.

Cleaning The Interiors Of The Shoes To Prevent Bad Odor

Foul odor is a common issue among bikers, regardless of the type of shoe. When riding, our feet constantly perspire, and without adequate ventilation, shoes can develop an unpleasant smell. Keep the following guidelines in mind when cleaning the interiors of your road bike shoes:

  • Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any loose dirt or debris inside the shoes.
  • Mix warm water and mild detergent/soap and dip the toothbrush inside the solution.
  • Use the toothbrush to scrub the insides of the shoes gently.
  • After you’ve cleaned the insides thoroughly, rinse the shoes with warm water, and remove any excess water using a towel.

Drying The Shoes After Cleaning

After cleaning, it’s essential to allow the shoes to dry completely before storing them. Here is how to dry your road bike shoes:

  • Stuff the shoes with kitchen roll or a newspaper. This will help absorb any excess water and maintain the shape of the shoes.
  • Keep the shoes in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat, and let them dry for 24 hours.
  • If you’re in a rush, you can use a fan or a hairdryer on a low setting to speed up the drying process.

How To Store The Shoes Properly

Now that your road bike shoes are clean and dried, it’s crucial to store them properly:

  • Keep them in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
  • Stuff the shoes with kitchen roll or a newspaper to maintain their shape.
  • If you have multiple pairs of road bike shoes, avoid stacking them on top of each other. Instead, store each pair individually in a shoe cabinet or on a shelf.

Keeping your road bike shoes clean will not only help them last longer but also prevent bad odor and keep them hygienic. Following this step-by-step guide to clean your shoes will save money and ensure a comfortable biking experience.

Tips For Maintaining Clean Road Bike Shoes

Riders spend a lot of time on the road with their bikes, which means their gear can get dirty. Road bike shoes are no exception. After a ride, cleaning the shoes is the best way to keep them in good condition for a long time.

Here are some tips for maintaining clean road bike shoes.

How Frequently To Clean Road Bike Shoes

Cleaning frequency depends on the cyclist’s individual usage. But, it is recommended to clean road bike shoes after every ride or long-distance trip. This ensures that dirt and grime do not accumulate and cause damage to the shoes.

Common Mistakes To Avoid While Cleaning Road Bike Shoes

It is essential to avoid the following common mistakes while cleaning road bike shoes:

  • Using hot water, which can damage the material of the shoes.
  • Using a strong detergent that can cause discoloration of the shoes.
  • Drying the shoes directly in the sun, which can cause deformation of the shoes.

Tips For Preventing Dirt And Grime Buildup On Road Bike Shoes

Preventing dirt and grime buildup on road bike shoes is easy with these tips:

  • Use covers or overshoes to protect the shoes from splashes and dirt on the road.
  • Avoid getting mud or dirt on the shoes by staying on paved roads.
  • Wipe the shoes after every ride with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or grime buildup.

Additional Tips And Tricks For Keeping Road Bike Shoes Clean And In Good Condition

Here are some additional tips and tricks for keeping road bike shoes clean and in good condition:

  • Use a soft bristle brush to clean the shoes, focusing on the sole and the spaces between the cleats.
  • Remove the insoles and wash them separately.
  • Stuff the shoes with newspaper or a towel while they dry to prevent any deformation or misshaping.
  • Apply a waterproofing spray to the shoes to protect them from water damage.

By following these tips, you can keep your road bike shoes clean and in good condition for longer rides.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Clean Road Bike Shoes

How Often Should You Clean Your Road Bike Shoes?

It’s recommended to clean your road bike shoes after every ride to maintain their longevity and efficient performance.

What Is The Best Way To Clean Road Bike Shoes?

To clean road bike shoes, remove the insoles and any debris, scrub with a brush and mild soap, then air dry.

Can You Put Road Bike Shoes In The Washing Machine?

It’s not recommended to put road bike shoes in a washing machine as it may damage the shoes’ materials and components.

How Do You Deodorize Road Bike Shoes?

To deodorize road bike shoes, mix baking soda and water to create a paste, apply the paste inside the shoes, and let it sit overnight before cleaning.


Your road bike shoes can take a beating while you cycle, collecting dirt, sweat and grime. Keeping them clean will not only extend their lifespan but also prevent unpleasant smells. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to keep your shoes looking and smelling fresh after every ride.

Remember to remove debris before cleaning, use gentle detergents, and allow your shoes to air dry properly. Pay attention to the materials that your shoes are made of as they require unique care methods. It’s also important to regularly inspect your shoes for wear and tear and seek professional repair when necessary.

A clean pair of road bike shoes can enhance the overall cycling experience, keeping your feet comfortable and your performance at its peak. So, ensure that your shoes receive the maintenance they deserve, and enjoy the ride.

Rate this post