It took just over a year for the laces in my trail running shoes to become kinda gross. More specifically, tying my shoes got gross. Before a run, tying my shoelaces is a mini-ritual. This began after buying a pair of Topo Ultraventures and taking a serious look at the extra eyelets. Previously I’d never really considered their purpose. Now that YouTube explains everything, after about six related videos describing the benefits of the heel lock lacing method, I decided to give that a go.
Yeah, it takes a little more time to lace up, but the benefits are worth it. Having my heels held snugly in the shoe reduces the chances of developing blisters, while also preventing my toes from sliding into the front of the shoes on downhills.
The grossness of the laces manifested itself as stinky moisture on my fingers after lacing up. These trail shoes have been muddied and soaked, especially after runs in the rain. To get mud and other debris off I’ve taken them into the shower, so they are clean. The problem seems to be that the laces had absorbed lots of sweat and gunk that ordinary hosing down doesn’t purge. A more intense method was needed.
For this I didn’t do much YouTubing, but just unlaced the shoes, filled one palm with liquid dishwashing soap, ran some water and began squeezing and twisting the laces from end to end, seeking to saturate them with the soap. Then I went into the shower, tossed the soap-soaked laces to the floor while I had my shower. Afterwards I strained them between my fingers before hanging them to dry.
I’m satisfied with the result. The experience also taught me, from post-event research, that laces can be run through a laundry cycle in one of those laundry net/bag things. I also learned that it is a very bad thing to put running shoes into washing machines.
Here in Singapore it is always hot and humid, so nothing left hanging outside to dry ever gets 100% dry. This surely was a factor in why my shoelaces became so gross. Perhaps next time I’ll wash them before twelve months have passed.