How to Clean Altra Shoes – 5 Easy Steps

Altra shoes are popular among runners and athletes for their wide toe box and zero drop platform which promotes natural foot positioning and alignment. However, like any shoes, Altras can get dirty and require periodic cleaning to keep them looking and smelling fresh.

Cleaning Altras properly helps maintain the integrity and lifespan of the shoes. In this article, we will go over 5 easy steps to clean your Altras so you can keep racking up the miles in clean kicks!

Supplies Needed

  • Soft bristle brush
  • Mild soap (dish soap or laundry detergent)
  • Washcloth
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Old toothbrush
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Laundry detergent

5 steps to clean Altra shoes

Step 1: Remove Laces and Insoles

Start by removing the laces and insoles from the shoes. Removing these components allows you to clean the tongue area more effectively. Set the laces and insoles aside to be cleaned separately later.

Use a soft bristle brush to gently scrub the insoles with a small amount of mild soap and warm water to remove dirt and debris. Rinse them thoroughly.

Step 2: Spot Clean With Soap and Water

Fill a bucket with warm water and add a small amount of mild soap. Take a soft washcloth, dip it in the soapy water, and spot-clean the upper, sides, and toe box area of the shoes to lift dirt and stains.

Pay close attention to high wear areas like the heels and toes which tend to get extra dirty. Don’t submerge the whole shoe in water, just gently scrub spots and rinse with a wet cloth to prevent excessive water exposure.

Step 3: Scrub Soles and Midsoles

For Altra shoe soles and midsoles, use a soft bristle brush dipped in soapy water to gently scrub away impacted dirt and mud. An old toothbrush works well for cleaning in crevices and flex grooves. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and pat dry with a towel.

Step 4: Disinfect and Deodorize With Vinegar

To disinfect and help remove odors, spray a 50/50 mixture of distilled white vinegar and water onto the insoles and interior of the shoes. The mild acidic properties of vinegar work to kill bacteria, remove grime, and absorb foot odor. Allow the shoes to air dry completely after spraying them down with the vinegar solution.

Step 5: Freshen Laces

Add your shoe laces to the bucket of warm, soapy water. Allow them to soak for 15-20 minutes before scrubbing them with a brush to remove built-up dirt and restore brightness. Rinse thoroughly and air dry. You can also toss laces in the washing machine periodically for deeper cleaning.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Altras:

  • Machine washing – Washing machines can damage shoes and degrade adhesives
  • Harsh cleaners – Chemical cleaners and bleach can break down shoe materials
  • Excessive water – Overly wetting shoes causes the lining and cushioning to deteriorate quicker
  • Extreme heat – Exposing shoes to direct high heat can warp glues and damage fabric
  • Brushes with stiff bristles – Stiff brushes scratch up material and tread
  • Putting wet shoes on – Always let shoes fully air dry before wearing again


Keeping your Altra shoes clean extends their lifespan so you can enjoy more miles of comfortable running and training. By following these simple 5 steps of brushing away dirt, spot washing with mild soap and water, scrubbing the soles, disinfecting with vinegar spray, and freshening the laces, you can keep your Altras looking and smelling fresh.

Regular light cleaning prevents the need for deeper cleanings. Avoid machine washing, harsh cleaners, and overwetting that can degrade the shoes. Take care of your Altra shoes and they will keep you moving in comfort!

Leave a Comment