The Ultimate Guide on How to Clean Hiking Shoes: Keeping Your Footwear Fresh and Durable

Welcome fellow adventurer! It’s time to give your trusty hiking shoes the TLC they deserve. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of properly cleaning your hiking shoes, ensuring they remain fresh, odor-free, and ready for your next exciting outdoor escapade.

Gather Your Cleaning Supplies

Prepare Before You Begin

Before diving into the cleaning process, it is essential to gather all necessary supplies. Here are a few items you’ll want at hand:

  • A soft-bristle brush or toothbrush.
  • Mild soap or specialized shoe cleaner formulated for hiking footwear.
  • A bucket or basin filled with warm water.
  • Paper towels or a clean cloth.
  • A well-ventilated area where your shoes can air dry naturally.

Cleaning Techniques for Different Materials

Nubuck and Suede Hiking Shoes:

1. Begin by using a soft-bristle brush to gently remove loose dirt from the surface.
2. Mix mild soap with warm water in a bucket until soapy bubbles form.
3. Dip the brush into the soapy mixture and scrub lightly in small circular motions.
4. Rinse off any excess soap by wiping with a damp cloth.
5. Remove excess moisture by patting gently with paper towels or a clean cloth.
6. Allow your nubuck/suede shoes to air dry away from direct sunlight.

Leather Hiking Shoes:

1. Wipe away loose dirt using a soft cloth or brush.
2.Apply specialized leather cleaner or a mixture of mild soap and warm water to a clean cloth.
3. Gently scrub the shoes in small circular motions, paying extra attention to stained areas.
4. Rinse off any residual soap by wiping with another damp cloth.
5. Absorb excess moisture using paper towels or a clean cloth, ensuring not to rub vigorously.
6. Let your leather hiking shoes dry naturally away from heat sources.

Mesh and Synthetic Hiking Shoes:

1. Begin by removing loose dirt with a soft brush or toothbrush.
2.Create a solution of mild soap and warm water in a basin.
3.Dip the brush into the soapy mixture and gently scrub away stains and grime on the shoe’s surface.
4.Rinse off any remaining soap residue with clean water (no need to fully submerge your shoes).
5.Remove excess moisture by patting lightly with paper towels or a clean cloth.
6.Air dry your mesh/synthetic hiking shoes in an area with proper air circulation.

Extra Tips for Odor Control

Drying After Every Adventure

After each hike, make sure to remove dirt particles and let your hiking shoes thoroughly dry before storing them. Dampness can lead to unpleasant odors if left untreated.

Regular Deodorizing

Sprinkle baking soda inside your hiking shoes before wearing them or leaving them overnight. Baking soda absorbs odor-causing bacteria effectively.

Maintaining Longevity

Protection Against Elements

Applying waterproofing spray specific to your shoe material will enhance their durability against wet conditions, keeping you comfortable during hikes through rain or muddy terrains.

Store Properly

When not in use, keep your cleaned hiking shoes in a cool, well-ventilated place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing them in airtight containers to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.


Congratulations! You now possess the know-how to effectively clean your hiking shoes, eliminating dirt, grime, and odors that could hinder your outdoor adventures. Remember to follow these steps regularly for maximum longevity and enjoy countless memorable hikes with footwear that’s fresh, clean, and ready to conquer any trail ahead!