Whether it be for the shear fun of it, the competitive nature or the many health benefits, millions of people around the world flock to paddle or racquet sports like picleball and tennis. Besides a racquet or paddle, your court shoes (or tennis shoes) are one very important piece of equipment you will need to play these sports. With lots of quick foot movement (especially laterally), your tennis shoes will be tested to the max. Choosing good quality court shoes is very important and trust me, worth the investment. Once you spend the money and break in a new pair of tennis shoes, you are going to want to make them last. Unfortunately, the more you wear them, the more sweaty and stinky they can get. So what can we do to keep our tennis shoes smelling, looking and functioning at their best for as long as possible? More importantly, can tennis shoes go in the washing machine?
Can tennis shoes go in the washing machine? In short, yes! However, you will want to consider the potential negative impact washing your tennis shoes in the washing machine may have. And for best results, you will wash your tennis shoes a little differently than your regular wash.
Over time, I've developed some tried and true methods to get your best court shoes clean. IMPORTANT: You'll want to clean your tennis shoes in a gentle way that doesn’t break down the shoe material. In the end, it's a personal choice, with pros and cons, as to whether or not you toss those sneakers in the washing machine! I'll break it all down for you so you weigh your options.
In an effort to be fair and balanced and give you transparency while addressing this question, let's start with a "con". Below are three very important and very real risks that you'll take when you decide to wash your tennis shoes in your washing machine...
Now let's give you the positives. The two most meaningful "pros" to washing your tennis shoes in the washing machine (in my opinion) is the ability to remove the "funk" or smell we get from athletic footwear AND, how much time it saves me. I'm not a big fan of wiping my shoes meticulously by hand if I don't have to. And it doesn't matter how much I "air out" my court shoes, the smell always seems to return with a vengeance.
I take a lot of pride in giving you the best options when it comes to quality court shoes. If you're a Pickleball lover, I'd recommend this article for the best shoes for pickleball. Whether its indoor or outdoor, we've laid out all the best options for you. If you're a tennis player and just so happen to have flat feet or low arches, we've put together the definitive guide to the best court shoes for flat feet.
Here are some of our most recommended and most purchased brands of tennis shoes for playing Tennis or Pickleball, and a bit about the materials they are made of. Why am I providing this info to you? Well, it's not always easy to find the materials listed for something as simple as tennis shoes. And, based on the materials a shoe manufacturer chooses to use, the washing instructions can be different.
QUICK TIP: Based on the materials and fabric used, washing instructions could change. Always check to see what fabrics you're working with before throwing them in.
Asics: Synthetic Mesh Upper, Memory Foam Midsole, and rubber outsole.
Nike: Synthetic breathable Mesh Upper, Phylon Midsole, rubber outsole.
New Balance: Synthetic Leather and Mesh Upper, Abzorb foam midsole and rubber outsole.
Adidas: Synthetic Mesh Upper, Adiprene Mold insole and rubber outsole.
Babolat: Mesh Upper made from polyamide fibers and Kevlar, Memory Foam like insole and rubber outsole.
Wilson: Synthetic Leather and Mesh Upper with rubber Outsole.
This is just a small sampling of what materials are used in some of the best court shoes on the market today. Luckily, most are made of synthetics and rubber. This is good because these materials tend to do better when washed.
QUICK TIP: If your shoes are made of leather or suede, even partially, it is not recommended to put them in the washing machine.
Some brands and styles of tennis shoes will have washing instructions on the tag.
Next let's talk about the actual process for putting your expensive court shoes in the actual washing machine. Before you just take your shoes off and throw them in with some Tide, read the instructions below carefully. This is different than washing your tee shirt and shorts that you played in.
If you do decide to wash your tennis shoes in the washing machine, it is important to wash them the least damaging way possible. First, make sure it is a cold cycle for both the wash and rinse. Secondly, use the most delicate cycle that your washing machine has. If you aren’t sure which is the most delicate, consult your owners manual (one may be available online too).
f you tend to have sweaty, smell feet, rest assured it’s very common. It’s also unfortunate when that stink attaches itself to our very nice and costly tennis shoes. Here are some ways you may help prevent your athletic shoes from getting stinky in the first place.
It’s very common for tennis shoes to get smelly from use during exercise (even if you are using preventative measures). Here are some great methods for removing odor from tennis shoes.
If you decide not to use the washing machine to clean your tennis shoes, here’s an alternative method to get them clean.
The experts agree, it is not recommended to put tennis shoes in the dryer. They even advise against leaving your tennis shoes out in the hot sun to dry. The heat (from the dryer and sun alike) can cause permanent shrinkage of the materials used to make most court shoes.
One idea to help your shoes dry faster is to stuff them with newspaper or absorbent towels and leave them in overnight. This will help absorb the moisture inside the shoe. If you are an avid tennis or pickleball player and need your court shoes on a daily basis, you might want to consider purchasing two pairs, so that you can have an extra pair on hand when you need to wash and dry one pair.
Hopefully this information has been helpful in keeping your tennis shoes in tip top shape. I know just how important it is to have the right pair of tennis shoes for your pickleball or tennis match. And it's equally as important to take care of them and prevent them from getting too smelly. What’s your preferred method of cleaning your tennis shoes? Let us know in the comments below.