How to Clean Xero Shoes – 5 Easy Steps

Xero shoes are a popular minimalist shoe brand that promotes natural foot movement. As a minimalist shoe, Xeros are designed to be lightweight and have thin, flexible soles that allow your feet to feel more connected to the ground.

While this can make Xero shoes very comfortable for many wearers, it also means they can get dirty more easily than traditional athletic shoes. Learning how to properly clean your Xero shoes will help extend their life and keep them looking like new. In this article, I’ll outline a simple 5 step process for cleaning Xero shoes using supplies you likely already have at home.

Supplies Needed:

  • Mild dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Towel
  • Baking soda
  • Toothbrush (optional)

5 steps to Clean Xero Shoes

Step 1: Remove Laces and Insoles

Start by removing the laces and insoles from your Xero shoes. Removing these components allows you to clean the shoes more thoroughly. Set the laces and insoles aside separately, as the insoles can be cleaned similarly once the shoe itself has been cleaned.

Step 2: Rinse With Warm Water

Rinse the entire shoe under warm running water. This initial rinse helps remove any loose dirt or debris. Apply a small amount of mild dish soap and use your hands to create a light lather on the surface of the shoe. Focus on cleaning the soles and fabric upper.

Step 3: Scrub With Soft Bristle Brush

Use a soft bristle brush, like a toothbrush, to gently scrub all surfaces of the shoe. Apply light pressure and take care around logos or printed areas on the shoes. Scrub until you don’t see any more dirt coming up. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Step 4: Spot Clean With Baking Soda

Create a paste by mixing a sprinkle of baking soda with just enough water to form a spreadable paste. Use an old toothbrush or your finger to gently scrub the paste onto any remaining stained or dirty areas. Let the paste sit for 5 minutes before rinsing. Baking soda will help break up and lift stains.

Step 5: Air Dry

After rinsing the shoes a final time, use a towel to pat off excess moisture. Stuff the shoes with paper towels or crumpled newspaper to aid in drying and help them retain their shape as they dry. Allow the shoes to fully air dry before wearing them again.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Xero Shoes:

  • Soaking – Avoid fully soaking Xero shoes as this can damage the materials or integrity of the shoe.
  • Harsh scrubbing – Scrub gently to avoid damaging the fabric or creating holes.
  • Machine washing – Xero shoes should be hand-washed only. Machine washing can damage the shoes.
  • Heat drying – Never machine dry Xeros or use other heat to dry them faster. Let them air dry only.
  • Chemical cleaners – Avoid harsh cleaners which may discolor or damage the shoes. Mild dish soap is recommended.
  • Storing wet – Always let Xeros fully dry before storing to prevent mold or mildew growth.


Keeping your minimalist Xero shoes looking fresh doesn’t require much time or effort. By following these simple 5 steps of rinsing, washing, scrubbing, spot cleaning, and air drying, you can keep your Xero shoes clean and ready for whatever adventures you want to take them on.

Be sure to avoid soaking, harsh scrubbing, machine washing, heat drying, or chemical cleaners. With regular cleaning, your Xero shoes will provide many comfortable, barefoot-feeling miles.

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