How to Clean Hoka Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide

how to clean hoka shoes

So you’ve invested in a pair of Hoka shoes. Congrats! You’re now the proud owner of some of the most comfortable and stylish athletic footwear around. But don’t break out the victory dance just yet. Like anything of value, these shoes need love and care to keep them in prime condition. If you think about it, we clean our clothes after wearing them, so why should our Clean Hoka Shoes be any different?

Especially, Hoka shoes, which are often exposed to mud, sweat, and the elements. Cleaning them properly is essential not only for hygiene but also for the longevity of the shoes. This guide is your go-to resource for keeping your Hokas looking fresh and feeling great.

Why Hoka Shoes Need Special Care

Let’s get one thing straight Hoka shoes aren’t just any ordinary running shoes. Engineered for performance, they feature specialized materials that enhance cushioning and durability. They often include cutting-edge technology like the “Meta-Rocker,” designed for a smoother ride and better propulsion. You also can’t ignore the unique foam material that provides incredible cushioning. These features make them stand out but also require a special cleaning regimen to maintain their unique attributes.

Using harsh cleaning agents or the wrong techniques can potentially harm these specialized components, affecting the shoe’s performance and reducing its lifespan. In other words, when it comes to Hoka shoes, you can’t just “wing it” in the cleaning department. Each material and component needs its own unique form of TLC, or tender loving care. And that’s precisely why you need this guide.

Before You Begin: Gather Your Cleaning Supplies

Ready to get down and dirty? Well, your shoes are, but hopefully not for much longer. Before you dive into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to gather all the necessary supplies. You’d be surprised how many people start only to realize they’re missing something vital!

  1. Mild Detergent: Opt for a mild, natural detergent as harsh chemicals can do more harm than good.
  2. Soft-Bristle Brush: This is essential for gently scrubbing away stubborn dirt and grime.
  3. Microfiber Cloth or Sponge: For wiping down various surfaces of the shoe.
  4. Lukewarm Water: Hot water can damage the glue and materials of the shoe, so lukewarm is the way to go.
  5. Towel: To pat down and dry your shoes post-cleaning.
  6. Bucket or Bowl: For mixing your cleaning solution.
  7. Optional: Stain Remover: In case of tough stains like oil or grass.
  8. Optional: Baking Soda: Excellent for odor removal if that’s an issue.

Armed with these supplies, you’re now ready to take on the Herculean task of cleaning your Hoka shoes! It may seem like a lot, but remember each tool has its role in the process, ensuring that your shoes come out looking and smelling like new. So, put on your favorite cleaning playlist, gather your supplies, and let’s get started!

How to Clean Hoka Shoes

Let’s cut to the chase. You’re here because you want to know how to clean Hoka shoes without ruining them. Fair enough. Cleaning these specialized shoes is not as daunting as it might seem. Sure, they have unique features that need to be taken into consideration, but once you’ve gathered your cleaning supplies, the process is a breeze.

Firstly, remove the shoelaces and the insoles (if removable). Fill a bucket with lukewarm water and add a few drops of mild detergent. Stir it up to create a soapy solution. Use your soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the shoe’s exterior. Pay special attention to the sole and any areas that are particularly dirty. Avoid scrubbing too hard, as you don’t want to damage the shoe’s material.

For the upper part, a simple wipe-down with a microfiber cloth or sponge dipped in your cleaning solution should suffice. To tackle stubborn stains, apply a small amount of stain remover directly to the area and gently rub it in with your brush or cloth. Once you’re satisfied that the shoes are clean, rinse them off with clean water to remove any soap residue. Finally, pat them dry with a towel, and allow them to air-dry in a well-ventilated area. Voila! Your Hoka shoes should now look good as new.

Breaking Down the Cleaning Process

Breaking Down the Cleaning Process

Now that we’ve given you the bird’s eye view, let’s break it down a bit, shall we? Cleaning Hoka shoes is not rocket science, but the devil’s in the details. Dividing the process into steps ensures you won’t skip anything important.

  1. Preliminary Dusting: Before anything else, bang the shoes together sole-to-sole to remove loose dirt.
  2. Soaking: Briefly soak the shoes in your cleaning solution to loosen grime.
  3. Brushing: Use your soft-bristle brush to tackle the dirt on the soles and sides.
  4. Wiping: Use your cloth for the upper part and interiors.
  5. Stain Treatment: Apply stain remover to stubborn spots and brush gently.
  6. Rinsing: A thorough rinse with clean water is vital to remove soap.
  7. Drying: Air-dry the shoes, but keep them out of direct sunlight to prevent color fading.

Cleaning the Insoles

Ah, the insoles! Often forgotten but hugely important for foot comfort and hygiene. If your Hoka shoes have removable insoles, take them out before cleaning the rest of the shoe. You can wash them separately with the same mild detergent used for the shoes. Apply a small amount of the detergent to a sponge and scrub away any dirt or stains on the insoles. Rinse them thoroughly and allow them to air-dry completely before placing them back into your shoes.

For non-removable insoles, create a diluted detergent solution and use a sponge to clean them. You can use a soft-bristle brush for more stubborn areas. Rinse by wiping down with a damp cloth, then air-dry your shoes as usual.

Taking the time to clean your insoles helps to remove odors and extends their lifespan, making your Hoka shoes an all-around more pleasant place for your feet.

Caring for the Outer Sole

Caring for the Outer Sole

Alright, folks, let’s talk turkey about the sole. You know, the part of the shoe that hits the pavement, trails, and pretty much everything else. Caring for the outer sole of your Hoka shoes is not just about cleaning but also about maintaining its structure and grip. When it comes to soles, you want to keep them as close to their original state as possible. After all, these are the foundation of your shoes!

First off, if you’ve got stuck-on mud or stones wedged in the grooves, use a stick or the end of a spoon to carefully pry them out. Loose dirt can be tapped out by banging the soles together, as mentioned earlier. For more persistent grime, your soft-bristle brush is your best friend. Gently scrub in a circular motion to lift off dirt without damaging the material. For an extra kick, you can use a toothbrush to get into those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.

Post-cleaning, it’s a good idea to check for any signs of wear and tear. Excessive wear can affect the shoe’s performance and could indicate that it’s time for a new pair. Keep an eye out for any significant cuts or abrasions and consider applying a rubber adhesive for minor repairs.

Working on the Upper Material

You’ve tackled the soles; now let’s move up in the world literally to the upper material. This part usually consists of a mix of textiles like mesh, synthetic overlays, and sometimes leather. Each material has its own cleaning needs, but for general cleaning, a mild detergent solution will suffice.

Dip a microfiber cloth into the soapy water and gently wipe down the upper material, concentrating on areas that are visibly dirty. For tougher stains or dirt, a soft-bristle brush can be used with caution. Remember, the upper material is often more delicate than the sole, so you’ve got to handle it with kid gloves. Avoid vigorous scrubbing, which could lead to fraying or discoloration.

After cleaning, rinse your cloth with clean water and wipe down the upper material again to remove any soap residue. Let the shoes air-dry in a shaded, well-ventilated area.

The No-No List: What to Avoid

Hold your horses! Before you get all gung-ho about cleaning, let’s talk about some big no-nos. First and foremost, never throw your Hoka shoes in the washing machine. The tumbling, twisting, and extended exposure to water can weaken the glue and distort the shape of the shoe. It’s a shortcut that will cost you in the long run.

Also, steer clear of using bleach or other harsh chemicals. They can degrade the materials and cause discoloration. The same goes for using hot water, which can affect the integrity of the shoe’s structure.

Avoid direct heat sources like radiators, heaters, or direct sunlight for drying your shoes. Excessive heat can warp the materials and fade the color. Last but not least, don’t forget to remove the laces and insoles before cleaning; otherwise, you’re just doing a half-baked job.

By steering clear of these common mistakes, you’ll ensure that your Hoka shoes remain in tip-top shape for many more runs, hikes, or walks to come!

Cleaning Stains and Marks

Ah, stains and marks, the bane of any shoe lover’s existence. So, you stepped in mud or maybe you’ve got a mystery stain that simply won’t budge. No sweat! Cleaning stains off your Hoka shoes is easier than you’d think.

Your go-to cleaning solution for these stubborn marks should be a mild detergent mixed with lukewarm water. Apply a small amount of the soapy mixture onto a microfiber cloth or soft-bristle brush, and gently dab at the stain. If it’s a tougher stain like oil or paint, you might want to use a specialized cleaner, but always do a patch test first to make sure it won’t cause any discoloration. Rubbing alcohol applied with a cotton ball can work wonders on certain kinds of stains. However, tread lightly and make sure you rinse it off thoroughly.

If the stain persists, you might be tempted to go nuclear with bleach or other harsh cleaners. Don’t! These can damage the material and color of your shoes. Patience and persistence usually win the stain-removal battle.

Hand Wash vs Machine Wash: A Comparison

Alright, let’s cut to the chase: Hand washing is the way to go for your Hoka shoes. Sure, machine washing might seem convenient and quick, but trust me, it’s a shortcut that could send your beloved Hokas to an early grave. The harsh spinning and tumbling can cause the glue to loosen and the materials to degrade.

On the flip side, hand washing allows you to be gentler and more targeted in your cleaning. You control the pressure, the soap, and the water temperature. Plus, it’s way easier to avoid those cleaning no-nos we talked about earlier. If you’re serious about extending the lifespan of your Hokas, then rolling up your sleeves and washing them by hand is the way to go.

Drying Your Hoka Shoes

The drying process is like the cherry on top of your cleaning sundae; it’s the final step that seals the deal. After cleaning, place your Hoka shoes in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Stuff them with newspaper to help them keep their shape and to absorb excess moisture from the inside. You can also use a shoe dryer, but make sure it doesn’t get too hot, or else you risk damaging the material.

Fan drying is another option, especially for those who are pressed for time. Again, the key is to keep the temperature moderate to avoid warping the shoes.

While it may be tempting to speed up the drying process with a hairdryer or by placing them near a heater, don’t! Excessive heat can warp the material and compromise the shoe’s structure.

So, in the game of shoe care, slow and steady wins the race.

What If You Ruined Your Shoes?

Oh boy, you’ve done it now. Maybe you ignored all the sage advice about shoe care, and now your beloved Hokas are worse for wear. Before you freak out or decide to dump them, let’s explore some options to give them a second chance.

First off, assess the damage. Is it cosmetic or structural? Cosmetic issues like scuffs and slight discoloration can often be fixed with specialized shoe polishes or conditioners. Structural damage like a loosening sole or significant wear and tear may require more professional attention.

For minor mishaps, there are specialized shoe repair glues that can help you patch up small areas. If the sole is coming off, these strong adhesives can save the day. However, for more extensive damage, you may have to bid your shoes a teary farewell. When shoes are beyond repair, it’s crucial to dispose of them responsibly. Many companies offer recycling programs, so it’s worth checking that out.


How often should I clean my Hoka shoes?

Ideally, a light cleaning after every use and a more thorough clean every couple of weeks should keep them in prime condition.

Can I put my Hoka shoes in the washing machine?

It’s not recommended due to the potential for damage to the material and structure of the shoe.

What cleaning solutions are safe for Hoka shoes?

A mild detergent mixed with lukewarm water is generally safe. Always do a patch test first to ensure there are no adverse reactions.

How can I dry my Hoka shoes quickly?

Avoid using direct heat sources. Use a fan or stuff them with newspapers to speed up the process.

Is it worth getting my shoes professionally cleaned?

If your shoes are expensive or hold sentimental value, professional cleaning might be worth the investment.

Can I use bleach on my Hoka shoes?

Absolutely not. Harsh chemicals like bleach can damage the material and color.


So there we have it, folks the complete guide to cleaning and caring for your Hoka shoes. From handling those pesky stains to making the all-important choice between hand washing and machine washing, we’ve covered it all. The bottom line is that your Hoka shoes are more than just a fashion statement; they’re an investment in your comfort and performance. Treat them with the love and attention they deserve, and they’ll return the favor tenfold.

In a world where fast fashion and indispensability are becoming the norm, taking the time to care for your belongings, especially something as vital as your shoes, is a commendable act. And who knows? With proper care, those Hokas might just outlast your gym membership!

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