Table of Contents
Clean New Balance Shoes
1. Start with a damp cloth to wipe away any loose dirt or debris. For more dirty shoes, use a wet rag and mild soap for cleaning after spraying the inside of the shoe with water/mixture (make sure not to soak the entire shoe). Remove excess moisture using another dry cloth.
2. Use a scuff-eraser to remove any scuff marks or dirt that are not coming off with just water alone.
3. Use a toothbrush to clean the fabric areas if needed after rinsing with water/mixture. Rinse fabric areas thoroughly after cleaning to avoid drying with residue soap or scuff marks caused by dirty bristles of the brush.
4. Allow shoes to air-dry before wearing them again – this is especially important for suede shoes as moisture can damage the material and leave permanent stains/marks.
If possible, place the shoe on a non-carpet surface to allow airflow underneath which speeds up the process because blow dryers can blast hot air onto shoes causing damage over time due to high levels of heat exposure (ping, cracking).
If you must use a hair dryer, only use cold air and low heat. (Do NOT attempt to blow-dry shoes at all if they’re wet/damp as the material can stretch out too far leading to shoe deformation.)
5. For suede shoes, take caution when using water or damp materials as stains or marks that are not coming off may remain even after cleaning (although you should still note an improvement).
The only way to remove stains and marks for this type of material is by brushing excess dirt and dust away with a brush – do NOT scrub hard as this will damage the fabric – gently rub at the stain until it’s less noticeable.
If there’s still a faint mark remaining once the shoes have completely dried, then wipe away residue from the brush on to the shoes then apply Saphir Renovator.
For old, set-in stains that are not coming out after brushing/applying renovator, you can use a scrub with toothpaste (just be sure there’s no excess paste leaking off onto areas of the shoe where it doesn’t belong).
Brush the renovator or toothpaste in circular motions until the stain has vanished. Rinse the area thoroughly and allow shoes to air-dry again before wearing.
Can I wash my New Balance shoes in the washing machine?
NO! Never wash NB shoes in the washing machine or dishwasher as this will damage the material or even worse, cause the shoe to come apart at the seams.
Suggested methods for cleaning are outlined above, but if you want to take an extra step before cleaning which is completely optional, here’s how to treat your new balance shoes with care so that they last longer:
1. The first thing you should do after removing your new balance shoes from their box/plastic bag is stuffed them with newspaper (the paper helps maintain their shape; otherwise shoes will become loose and floppy).
Locate a cool, dry place indoors to store your filled shoe stubs until you need them again (this prevents creases on both leather and mesh materials).
2. Before putting shoes on each time, wipe the sole with a damp cloth to prevent salt stains from forming.
If you sweat a lot during exercise or hot weather – use a tissue to remove excess sweat before wiping the soles of your shoes.
3. Clean out dirt and debris from laces using a small clip (this prevents damage to the material).
4. When putting your new balance shoes on, make sure that the tongue is fully pushed up into its correct position/slot which means there should be no loose fabric hanging over the front end of the shoe stub if standing upright (loose fabric will flap around against your legs when running).
Also, note that some models have lace loops at top of the mesh panel area while others have loops of fabric at the back of the shoe (loops are not for tying laces but purely decorative so these must be pushed up/out of the way before putting on shoes).
5. At the beginning of each running session, take extra care when tightening laces so that they fit securely with no loose loops or dangling pieces which can flap around irritatingly against feet during exercise (if your new balance shoes don’t come with lace-loops like ones shown in my photo above, then you need to tie shoelaces tightly in double-knots rather than one large knot that’s hard to untie later).
After finishing a workout, be sure to undo knots in your shoelaces right away since slipping your foot out when they’re left tied can result in accidental trips which can cause other people to trip over you (so tie your shoelaces securely at the start of each session and make sure they’re loose enough to undo right away when finishing).
6. To clean uppers, use a damp cloth and gently wipe away dirt. Do not apply pressure as the material is delicate and may stretch out of shape/color if scrubbed too hard or for too long. You can also use a toothbrush with soap on it to get into grooves and crevices but be careful not to scrub so hard that damage occurs.
Does Washing Shoes Damage The Washer?
Yes. Washing the shoe washer machine will eventually damage the washing machine (particularly the rubber seal) and void its warranty (the whole purpose of a washing machine is to make wet clothes/towels/soap clean by spinning them rapidly which is achieved through centrifugal force).
Some people ask if they can make their own DIY shoe-cleaning machine using a bucket, drill, and felt belt (already proven not to work effectively in my tests/experiments).
If you’re thinking about putting your running shoes in the washer machine anyway regardless of the advice given here, then at least use mesh-net laundry bags that allow water to circulate around all sides of the shoe while protecting the material from direct contact with the rubber seal of the washer tub.
Also, never put shoes in the dryer because high heat will damage the material. Just let them air-dry indoors on some old newspapers or towels for a few days to get rid of bad odors caused by sweat accumulating inside the shoe.
Then you can use an ordinary household fan to speed up drying time so they’re ready for exercise again in 5 hours instead of 2 days which is how long it takes for them to fully air-dry if left out alone without any fan assistance.
What About Mesh Material?
The material used in most new balance Mesh trainers is not actually meshed which means they have no ventilation holes like modern mesh running shoes do (such as Vibram FiveFingers) but rather some sort of membrane woven into the fabric that’s called textile mesh which doesn’t allow water to pass through but is still very breathable.
The membrane is covered with a thin clear plastic coating which may cause problems when washing shoes because the plastic can stick to other textiles during the wash cycle and ruin them (so always wash shoes alone without other clothes).
The only way to be truly certain that shoes are made of true mesh material is to cut open shoe stubs and look for circular holes around the perimeter. If you do find holes, then this means they’re obviously not waterproof (and should never be worn in heavy rain) so there’s no danger of damaging material if you use a washer machine to clean soles/uppers.
Always take extra care using any chemical cleaning product on mesh shoes and do not use any sort of bleach whatsoever because it will definitely destroy material over time.