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How to Wash Running Clothes – Best Methods

June 28, 2019

Running is one of the easiest ways to improve your health. A great form of cardio, it will strengthen your muscles, bones, heart, and lungs. Don’t forget, it’ll burn a significant amount of calories as well! This makes it excellent for those who want to lose weight.

You probably know this already but running comes with mental benefits too. For one thing, it will trigger the release of endorphins, which will make you “feel good.” Not only that, but it can fight against depression too! Considering all that, it’s not surprising to know that the sport is as popular as it is. 

What Kind of Gear is Needed for Running?

The best part about running is that you don’t need any special kind of gear. It’s not like football where you need helmets and pads! All you really need is a good pair of running shoes. After all, you’ll be running through the streets—you can’t expect to do that in a pair of sandals!

investing in a good pair of running shoes

Why Should You Invest in a Good Pair of Running Shoes?

  • Provides traction on a variety of surfaces
  • Cushioning helps to prevent injury by absorbing shock
  • Takes the pressure off the knees, ankles, and hips
  • Allows you to run better

With that said, there are a few other items that you might want. For instance, it might be a good idea to get a breathable shirt and pants. Hats and gloves are also a good option, especially when it’s cold out!

Keeping Your Running Clothes Clean

Running can be a high-intensity workout. In other words, you will be sweating. Given that, it only makes sense that your clothes will get sweaty. Don’t forget, most of what you’ll be wearing will be in close contact with your skin!

Ideally, you want to wash your running clothes as soon as you get home—don’t just throw it into the hamper. Why? It will help to prevent the growth of bacteria, which can result in some pretty nasty odors.  At the very least, you should air them out.

Popular Brands of Running Clothes

Tons of brands sell running clothes—after all, it’s a fairly popular sport. We’ll be going over some of the more well-known ones below!

Brooks Sports

Brooks Sports, also known as Brooks Running, is a manufacturer of sports equipment. Based in Seattle, they sell high-performance running shoes, clothing, accessories, and more. As of 2023, their products are sold in 60 different countries around the world.


Asics is a Japanese company that specializes in sports footwear and equipment. Headquartered in Kobe, Japan, the brand sells products geared toward a wide range of sports, most of which are in the upper price range.


Patagonia is a popular clothing brand that sells outdoor apparel. They sell a variety of running gear from tops to base layers. What sets them apart from other companies is that they offer new merchandise credits for customers who return items in good condition.

Smart Wool

Smartwool is a company that specializes in merino wool products. Most, if not all of their items come with a moisture-wicking and anti-microbial finish. In 2005, they were acquired by The Timberland Company.


Saucony is a manufacturer of athletic footwear. A subsidiary of Wolverine World Wide, the brand offers a variety of shoes that are meant for running, racing, trail running, and walking. Aside from shoes, they also sell apparel and accessories, though it’s not their main focus.


Mizuno is a Japanese sportswear company. Founded in Osaka, the brand sells a wide range of sports gear including those for running, volleyball, golf, tennis, boxing, rugby, judo, and more. A global corporation, their products are available in several countries worldwide.


Nike is the world’s largest manufacturer of athletic footwear and clothes. One of the most valuable brands in the sports industry, they sell a variety of running gear from shoes to socks. Aside from their running gear, they also have products that are geared toward other sports such as tennis, basketball, golf, and soccer.


Adidas is the largest supplier of sportswear in Europe. Known for their three stripes, the company manufactures footwear, clothing, and accessories. Among them, many are designed for running.

Under Armour

Under Armour is an American company that sells sportswear, sports equipment, and footwear. Founded by Kevin Plank, the brand can be found in over a dozen countries worldwide including London, Hong Kong, Seoul, Sao Paulo, and Paris.

Washing Instructions for Running Clothes

Remember what we said earlier? You want to wash your running clothes as soon as you come home from a run—that way, you’ll be able to limit the amount of odor. It might sound tedious, but it really isn’t. If anything, the washing process is quite straight forward!

washing running clothes

Using the Washing Machine

You’ll be happy to know that most running clothes, whether it’s a baselayer or a top, are machine washable. To be on the safe side, however, you want to always want to check the garment’s care label—any special instructions will be written clearly on the tag. For instance, certain items might need to be hand washed. Most clothes, however, you will be able to throw into the washer no problem.

First things first, you want to separate your running clothes based on color—have one load for dark-colored items and another for light-colored items. Under no circumstances should you mix them together! Once you’ve got your loads sorted, prepare the garments by turning everything inside out. Why? This proves the detergent with easy access to the inner layer—aka the “dirtiest” layer. Not only that, but it will keep the friction at bay (against the outer surface anyway), which will prevent the colors from fading.

Pro-tip: Washing delicates such as sports bras? Consider using a laundry bag—they will protect the items from your other clothes.

active packaging new

The next step is to add the detergent—after all, what good would it do to wash them without any soap? Measure one scoop of ACTIVE detergent and add it to the washing machine (either onto the clothes themselves or into a dispenser). Generally speaking, you almost always want to select a cold water cycle on a delicate setting. Avoid hot water whenever possible—running clothes tend to be made from synthetic fabrics, which while durable, should not be exposed to heat.

Note: Avoid fabric softeners if you can. They work, but they will also coat your running clothes with a waxy layer that will prevent sweat from evaporating from the surface! What does that mean? There’s a greater chance that you’ll feel clammy at the gym.

Wait for the cycle to finish before opening the door and removing your clothes (don’t leave them in the washer, otherwise, the garments can get smelly). Put everything on a clothesline and let them air dry. Using the dryer is a no-no when it comes to activewear.

Washing Your Running Clothes by Hand

Washing your running clothes by hand requires a bit of extra work, but it’s definitely worth it—it will give you the best results as it is the gentlest method.

Fill a small container or sink with cool or lukewarm water. Add a scoop of ACTIVE detergent (less or more is fine, it really depends on how many items you’re washing). Submerge the garments in the soapy water and let them soak for 15 to 30 minutes.

Swish the items through the sudsy water with gentle movements. Do not scrub or twist the material as that can easily damage the fibers. With that said, it’s perfectly fine to massage the fabric, as long as you do so gently.

Drain the container or sink and refill it with clean water. Swirl the clothes in it until all the soap suds are gone. As an alternative, you can hold them under the faucet—continue doing so until the water comes out clear. Lightly squeeze out the excess water before putting it on a clean towel. Blot it a few times to get rid of the moisture before hanging the garments up to dry. Remember, skip the dryer!

Note: The above instructions apply for tops, bottoms, baselayers, and socks.

How to Clean Running Shoes

Does it surprise you that running shoes tend to get quite dirty? Don’t fret, though, they’re easy to clean!

cleaning running shoes

Cleaning Your Running Shoes with Water and Detergent

Running can be tough on your shoes, especially if you run on various terrains. Here’s how to get them clean again.

Start by lightly clapping the shoes together—that will help to remove some of the dirt, grass, and mud. From there, wipe away any remaining debris from the surface with a clean cloth or soft brush.

Remove the shoelaces and insoles (if they are removable) so that you can wash them separately. Stick them in a laundry bag and put them in the washing machine with your other activewear. Alternatively, you can soak them in the sink with water and detergent.

The next step is to scrub away stains from the surface of the show. To do this, you’ll want to mix water with a scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Apply the mixture onto the fabric with an old toothbrush. Be gentle when you’re scrubbing—the last thing that you want to do is to damage the fabric!

When you’re finished, rinse the shoe with a washcloth—continue until all the grime and soap suds are gone. Let them air dry at room temperature. Do not put them in the sun as the heat can cause staining and the soles to warp. Wait until they’re fully dry before wearing again

Pro-tip: Stuffing the insides with newspaper will help to remove excess moisture. Not only that, but it will help the shoes retain their shape while they’re drying!

Are Running Shoes Machine Washable?

Ideally, you want to wash your running shoes by hand. In some cases, however, you might be able to get away with putting them in the washer. When in doubt, check the care tag label.

The first thing you want to do is to remove the laces. To prevent them from being tangled, put them in their own laundry bag. Next, you want to put your shoes in their own bag. From there, add a few towels to the machine—they will act as a “buffer” so that there won’t be as much banging during the wash.

putting running shoes in washer

Add a scoopful of ACTIVE detergent to the dispenser and go for a cold delicate cycle (hot water will likely cause the colors to fade). Let the washer run. Take your shoes and laces out once the washing is finished. Allow the shoes to air dry at room temperature. Do not tumble dry as the heat can cause some of the glue to melt. As you can imagine, that will make your shoes more vulnerable to breaking. 

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