Can You Wash Steel Toe Tennis Shoes? A Few Tips & Pointers!

Steel toe tennis shoes are not just for playing tennis. They are a pair of athletic shoes made for extreme sports such as mountain climbing and hiking. These shoes have protective steel covering the toe area to protect the feet from heavy rolling or falling objects. However, despite the steel inside the shoes, they are not heavy at all. They are lightweight, durable, and sturdy, making these shoes the number one choice for workers and athletes.

Advantages of using steel toe shoes

What are the benefits of steel toe shoes, and why are they the preferred form of footwear for many people? Here are some advantages of using steel toe shoes.

  1. Steel toe shoes give your feet more protection compared to regular sneakers. As a result, your feet will not suffer injuries if something heavy falls on your feet.
  2. Steel toe tennis shoes are usually cheaper than most shoes.
  3. These shoes are made especially for workers and athletes who participate in extreme sports, which means they are made with comfort and safety in mind.
  4. Despite having steel toes, these shoes still follow fashion. They are still stylish, with the added feature of steel toes to protect your feet.
  5. You can wear them just like regular shoes. The steel toes do not impede movement and comfort in any way.

Washing these steel toe tennis shoes may sound like a chore, but they are pretty easy to clean. Can you wash steel toe tennis shoes? Definitely. Here are a few tips and pointers on how to clean steel toe tennis shoes.

How To Wash Steel Toe Tennis Shoes

There are several ways of washing steel toe shoes. You can take them apart and clean them using your hands, you can put them in the washing machine, you can have them washed by a professional cleaner, or you can use household items to get rid of the dirt, stink, and sweat that accumulated in your steel toe tennis shoes.

1. Using a washing machine

Can you wash steel toe tennis shoes using a washing machine? Some say that using a washing machine to clean steel toe tennis shoes is not recommended since the steel might damage the machine. However, if you take apart the shoes and remove the insoles, it is possible to clean them by throwing them into the washing machine.

Step 1. Remove the shoelaces and place them in a small mesh laundry bag.

Step 2. Remove extra dirt build-up from each shoe using a soft brush. This is to avoid having your shoes washed too long in the washing machine.

Step 3. Wrap each shoe in a towel before placing them inside the washing machine to avoid damaging the machine.

Step 4. Wash the shoes using cold water and liquid detergent. Do not use the washing machine’s dryer to dry the shoes, as the heat may damage the material. The cycle time depends on how dirty your shoes are.

2. Handwashing

Step 1. Remove the shoelaces and the insoles (if possible).

Step 2. Use warm water and a liquid detergent or a mild shampoo. Clean each part of the shoe using a soft brush. Pour the remaining soapy water inside the shoes to make sure that even the insides of the shoes are clean.

Step 3. Rinse the shoes thoroughly. Make sure that there are no suds before hanging the shoes up to dry.

Step 4. Air-dry the shoes in a dust-free place.

3. Using household items

Powder, lime, tartar cream, and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) are just some of the household items you can use to clean your steel toe tennis shoes. These items can remove stains and nasty smells from your shoes without damaging them, and they are good alternatives to hand washing or using a washing machine.

Option 1. Powder

  • Use a microfibre cloth to remove any surface stains on your shoes.
  • Sprinkle powder all over the shoes and leave them on overnight.
  • The following day, remove the powder using the same microfibre cloth that you used to remove the surface stains.

Option 2. Lime/tartar cream

  • Use either of the two and spread it all over the shoe surface.
  • Use a microfibre cloth and rub the mixture in circular motions.
  • Take another cloth to wipe off the excess mixture.
  • Air-dry the shoes once you are done.

Option 3. Baking soda and a special shoe brush

  • Use the special shoe brush to remove the stains on the shoes.
  • Put some baking soda and leave it overnight.
  • After a full day has passed, remove the baking soda using a microfibre cloth.
  • Have the shoes dry in the sun.
  • If you have a shoe conditioner, it is also a good idea to use them to avoid the shoes from going through extreme wear and tear.

There are other household items such as toothpaste, dish soap, and lemon peels, and cleaning your steel toe tennis shoes with these items is easy. Rub the mixture on the surface of the shoes with a microfibre cloth, leave them on overnight, and wipe them off using the same cloth. Always remember to air-dry your shoes.


Can you wash steel toe tennis shoes? Yes, you can. It is recommended to wash them because they are usually used in a dirty workplace or extreme sports, making them extremely dirty. However, no matter what method you employ to wash your shoes or what household item you use to clean and remove stains, remember that you must be gentle when rubbing the surface of the shoes. Also, air-dry your steel toe tennis shoes because a washing machine’s dryer may cause irreparable damage.

To avoid your shoes getting permanently dirty, it is a good idea to wipe them off immediately after use. Use a microfibre cloth to avoid damaging the fabric and material of the shoes, and use a shoe conditioner to maintain cleanliness. You can also use a waterproofing spray every few weeks or so to avoid liquids like mud and sludge from clinging to your steel toe tennis shoes and staining them.