How to Wash Vibram Shoes (FiveFingers and Furoshiki)

In short: To wash Vibram shoes, hand wash or machine wash them on a gentle cycle in cold water with mild detergent. Then, air dry or line dry only, away from direct sunlight if possible.

Whether you own the FiveFingers or Furoshiki, Vibram shoes need to be washed from time to time. In fact, you should wash them every 3 days. Here’s how to wash Vibram’s shoes.

How to clean and wash Vibram’s shoes

The more you wait, the harder it will be to get your Vibram shoes clean again. Here is the step-by-step guide on how to clean and wash Vibram’s shoes completely.

1. Remove any loose debris

Before washing your Vibram shoes, you should shake off any loose debris. Vibram shoes are designed for the outdoors and chances are your pair has accumulated dirt and debris.

By removing any loose dirt from the shoes, you will help make the washing process more optimal. Dirt and debris won’t circulate inside the wash water, making the shoe cleaner.

2. Hand wash with cold water

Once the visible dirt has been removed, you can hand wash your Vibram shoes in cold water. Vibram FiveFingers are made with materials that make them safe to rinse under a sink faucet.

I recommend this laundry detergent because it is natural. It has all of the cleaning power, with none of the risks. Using a mild, but powerful detergent is necessary for Vibrams.

Start by filling a sink with cold water. Add half a scoop of detergent (or a scoop, depending on how dirty they are) to the water. Dissolve the powder by agitating the liquid with your hand.

Once you’ve done that, put your FiveFingers in. Let them soak for about 20 minutes. Then, gently scrub the outside of the shoes with a soft brush to get rid of any dirt or stains.

When you’re done, rinse them with water until there’s no detergent left – this is important. Leftover detergent can cause skin irritation, especially if you wear them without socks!

3. Machine wash with a gentle cycle

Don’t want to wash them by hand? No problem. Why not use the washing machine? Vibram shoes can be washed inside the washing machine as long as you are using a gentle cycle.

However, you need to wash the shoes on their own. Don’t put them together with another laundry because the shoes can end up damaging your other items.

To begin, you want to put your Vibrams in a mesh laundry bag. Not only will that keep them together, but it will prevent them from being thrown around in the machine.

If you don’t have a mesh laundry bag for your shoes, you can also use a clean pillowcase depending on the size of your shoes. Vibrams are thin and should fit most pillowcases.

To reduce the amount of throwing inside the washing machine, you can add a few towels inside. This will prevent your Vibram shoes from being thrown around inside the drum.

To start, add a scoop of detergent to the dispenser. Select the gentle cycle setting and press the start button. Make sure to wash the shoes with cold water, not hot water!

High temperatures can cause the material of your Vibram shoes to warp, which would affect how they fit your feet. Do not use bleach or fabric softener as well.

Once the washing machine has finished its cycle, take the laundry bag and remove the Vibrams. Place them in a well-ventilated area where they can air dry. Do not place them in the dryer.

4. Air dry away from direct sunlight

The best way to dry Vibram shoes is to air dry or line dry them in a well-ventilated area. Avoid direct sunlight or areas with high temperatures because the heat can damage the material.

It is important to air dry them thoroughly. If there is moisture inside the shoes, they can produce annoying squeaking noises, or worse, cultivate the growth of odor-producing bacteria.

If you notice an unbearable smell coming from your Vibrams, please take the time to read this article to get rid of the odor completely. I’ve shared the top 3 methods to deodorize them.

Key takeaways

Now you know how to wash Vibram’s shoes. It is recommended to wash your Vibram shoes once every 3 days. Vibrams are notorious to produce bad odors so be diligent in cleaning them.

To best clean and wash your pair of Vibram FiveFingers or Furoshiki shoes, hand wash or machine wash using a gentle cycle in cold water with mild detergent. 

Once they are done washing, air or line dry only, away from direct sunlight if possible. Hot water wash and dryer machines will likely result in the demise of your beloved Vibram shoes.

After wearing your Vibram FiveFingers at the pool or the ocean, please rinse your pair in cold, fresh water immediately afterward. This will help prolong their lifespan.

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