Photo of author

How to Clean Stride Rite Shoes: The Ultimate Guide for Sparkling Footwear

When it comes to keeping your little one’s stride rite shoes in pristine condition, a regular cleaning routine is essential. From muddy playground adventures to sticky spills, these shoes can quickly accumulate dirt and grime. But fret not, as we bring you the ultimate guide on how to clean stride rite shoes, ensuring they look as good as new.

Proper cleaning not only extends the lifespan of the shoes but also maintains their vibrant colors and comfortable fit. So, let’s dive into the step-by-step process and discover the best practices for cleaning stride rite shoes.

Table of Contents

Gather the Necessary Supplies

Before you embark on the cleaning journey, it is essential to gather all the necessary supplies. Having the right tools and products at hand will make the cleaning process much more efficient and effective. Here are the supplies you will need:

Soft Brush

A soft brush is ideal for removing loose dirt and debris from the surface of the shoes. Look for a brush with gentle bristles that won’t scratch or damage the material.

Gentle Detergent

Choosing the right detergent is crucial to avoid damaging the shoes. Look for a mild, non-abrasive detergent specifically designed for delicate materials. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach as they can cause discoloration or deterioration of the shoe material.

Warm Water

Warm water is the perfect temperature for cleaning stride rite shoes. It helps loosen dirt and grime without causing any harm to the shoes. Avoid using hot water as it can shrink or warp certain materials.

Microfiber Cloth

A microfiber cloth is gentle on the shoe’s surface and helps absorb excess water during the cleaning process. It is ideal for drying and polishing the shoes to maintain their shine.

Old Toothbrush

An old toothbrush can be used to clean hard-to-reach areas and remove stubborn stains. Make sure it is clean and in good condition before using it on the shoes.

Paper Towels

Keeping a few paper towels handy will help absorb excess water and prevent it from seeping into the shoe’s interior. They are also useful for blotting and removing stains.

Stain Remover (Optional)

If your stride rite shoes have tough stains that cannot be removed with regular cleaning, a stain remover designed for the shoe’s material may be necessary. Choose a gentle and non-abrasive stain remover to avoid damaging the shoes.

Now that you have gathered all the necessary supplies, you are ready to begin the cleaning process.

Remove Excess Dirt and Debris

Prior to delving into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to get rid of any excess dirt and debris present on the shoes. This step will prevent further staining and ensure a more effective cleaning. Here are some techniques to remove stubborn dirt and debris:

Brushing off Loose Dirt

Take the soft brush and gently brush the surface of the shoes to remove any loose dirt and debris. Start from the top and work your way down, paying attention to all areas of the shoe, including the sole and crevices. Use light strokes to avoid damaging the shoe material.

Knocking Shoes Together

If there are clumps of mud or dirt stuck on the shoes, you can gently knock the shoes together to dislodge the debris. Hold the shoes by the soles and tap them together, ensuring you do it over a trash can or outside to avoid making a mess indoors.

Using a Damp Cloth

If there are still visible dirt or stains on the shoes, take a damp cloth and gently wipe the affected areas. Make sure the cloth is not too wet to prevent excess moisture from seeping into the shoe’s interior. This method is particularly useful for removing surface-level dirt and stains.

By thoroughly removing excess dirt and debris, you are now ready to move on to the actual cleaning process.

Hand-Washing vs. Machine-Washing

When it comes to cleaning stride rite shoes, you have two options: hand-washing or machine-washing. Each method has its own advantages and considerations. Let’s explore both techniques to help you decide which one is the best approach for your shoes.


Hand-washing your stride rite shoes allows for more control over the cleaning process and reduces the risk of damage. It is particularly suitable for shoes made of delicate materials or those with intricate designs that may not withstand the agitation of a washing machine.


Machine-washing can be a convenient option, especially when dealing with multiple pairs of shoes or heavily soiled footwear. It can help save time and effort, as the machine does most of the work. However, it is important to note that not all stride rite shoes are suitable for machine-washing, so always check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Consider the material, condition, and level of dirtiness of your stride rite shoes before deciding on the cleaning method. If you have chosen hand-washing, continue reading for a step-by-step guide on how to effectively clean your shoes.

Hand-Washing Step-by-Step Guide

If you opt for hand-washing your stride rite shoes, follow this step-by-step guide for a thorough and effective cleaning:

Step 1: Prepare the Cleaning Solution

In a basin or sink, mix a small amount of gentle detergent with warm water. Follow the detergent manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate ratio. Ensure the water is not too hot, as it can damage certain shoe materials.

Step 2: Remove Laces and Insoles

Before submerging the shoes in the cleaning solution, remove the laces and insoles if possible. This will allow you to clean these parts separately and ensure a more thorough cleaning for the shoes.

Step 3: Submerge the Shoes

Place the shoes in the prepared cleaning solution, ensuring they are fully submerged. Gently agitate the shoes in the water, allowing the detergent to penetrate and loosen the dirt and stains. Avoid scrubbing vigorously, as it can damage the material.

Step 4: Scrub the Shoes

Using a soft brush or an old toothbrush, gently scrub the shoes to remove dirt and stains. Focus on areas that are particularly dirty or stained. Use circular motions and light pressure to avoid causing any damage.

Step 5: Rinse Thoroughly

Once you are satisfied with the cleaning, rinse the shoes under running water to remove any remaining detergent. Ensure that no soap residue is left, as it can lead to discoloration or attract more dirt in the future.

Step 6: Dry the Shoes

After rinsing, gently squeeze out excess water from the shoes. Avoid twisting or wringing them, as it can deform the shape of the shoes. Use a microfiber cloth or paper towels to absorb as much moisture as possible. Allow the shoes to air dry in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

Now that you know how to hand-wash your stride rite shoes, let’s explore the step-by-step process for machine-washing, in case you decide to take that route.

Machine-Washing Step-by-Step Guide

If you choose to machine-wash your stride rite shoes, follow these steps to ensure a successful cleaning cycle:

Step 1: Check the Manufacturer’s Instructions

Before proceeding, carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions on whether the shoes are machine-washable. Some stride rite shoes may not be suitable for machine-washing due to their material or construction.

Step 2: Prepare the Shoes

Remove the laces and insoles from the shoes, if possible. This will prevent them from tangling or getting damaged during the machine-washing process. It is also a good opportunity to clean these parts separately.

Step 3: Place Shoes in a Laundry Bag

To protect your shoes and prevent them from getting tangled with other items in the washing machine, place them inside a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase. This will help maintain the shoe’s shape and prevent excessive agitation during the wash cycle.

Step 4: Select the Appropriate Cycle and Settings

Choose a gentle cycle and cold water setting on your washing machine. Avoid using hot water or harsh cycles, as they can cause damage to the shoes. Additionally, adding a small amount of mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics can help enhance the cleaning process.

Step 5: Start the Washing Cycle

Once everything is set, start the washing machine and allow the cycle to complete. It is recommended to avoid adding other items to the washing machine during this cycle to prevent potential damage to both the shoes and other clothing items.

Step 6: Air Dry the Shoes

After the washing cycle iscompleted, remove the shoes from the laundry bag and gently squeeze out any excess water. Avoid twisting or wringing the shoes, as it can damage their shape and structure. Place the shoes in a well-ventilated area to air dry naturally. Avoid using direct heat sources such as a dryer or radiator, as they can cause shrinkage or deformation of the shoes.

Now that you’re familiar with both hand-washing and machine-washing methods, you can choose the one that suits your needs and preferences. However, keep in mind that some materials and delicate shoe designs may require hand-washing for optimal results.

Drying Methods and Tips

Proper drying techniques are essential to maintain the integrity and shape of your stride rite shoes. Here are some methods and tips to ensure your shoes dry properly:

Air Drying

Air drying is the safest and most effective method for drying stride rite shoes. After cleaning, place your shoes in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources. This allows for natural airflow, which helps to prevent any potential damage caused by excessive heat or forced drying.

Stuffing the Shoes

While air drying, it is beneficial to stuff the shoes with crumpled paper towels or newspaper. This helps maintain their shape and absorbs moisture from the interior. Avoid using colored paper or inked newspapers, as they may transfer ink onto the shoes.

Rotating the Shoes

During the drying process, remember to rotate the shoes periodically. This ensures that all areas of the shoes dry evenly and prevents any moisture from being trapped in certain sections. By rotating the shoes, you can also minimize the risk of developing a musty odor.

Avoiding Direct Heat

Never use direct heat sources such as hairdryers, heaters, or radiators to speed up the drying process. Excessive heat can cause the shoes to shrink, warp, or crack. It is important to allow them to dry naturally at room temperature.

Avoiding Machine Drying

While it may be tempting to use a dryer to hasten the drying process, machine drying is not recommended for stride rite shoes. The high heat and tumbling motion can damage the shoes and alter their shape and fit. Stick to air drying for the best results.

Following these drying methods and tips will help preserve the quality and prolong the lifespan of your stride rite shoes.

Removing Stains and Odors

Accidents happen, and sometimes stains and odors become inevitable. However, with the right techniques and products, you can effectively remove stains and freshen up your stride rite shoes. Here’s how:

General Stain Removal

For general stains, start by gently blotting the affected area with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove any excess liquid or debris. Then, create a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. Dip a soft brush or toothbrush into the soapy solution and gently scrub the stained area in circular motions. Rinse with clean water and repeat the process if necessary. Allow the shoes to air dry completely.

Stubborn Stain Removal

If you encounter stubborn stains that are resistant to the general cleaning method, you may need to use a specialized stain remover. Follow the instructions provided by the stain remover manufacturer and test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the shoe first to ensure it doesn’t cause any discoloration or damage. Apply the stain remover to the stain and gently scrub with a soft brush or toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and allow the shoes to air dry.

Odor Removal

To eliminate unpleasant odors from your stride rite shoes, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda inside each shoe. Let the baking soda sit overnight to absorb the odors. In the morning, shake out the excess baking soda and use a soft brush to remove any residue. This simple trick will leave your shoes smelling fresh and clean.

With these stain and odor removal techniques, you can keep your stride rite shoes looking and smelling their best, even after accidental spills or unpleasant odors.

Maintaining and Protecting Stride Rite Shoes

Cleaning is just one aspect of maintaining your stride rite shoes. To ensure their longevity and keep them in excellent condition, follow these tips for maintenance and protection:

Regular Cleaning Routine

Make cleaning your stride rite shoes a regular part of your routine. By tackling dirt and stains promptly, you prevent them from becoming more stubborn and difficult to remove. Regular cleaning also helps maintain the shoe’s appearance and prevents any build-up that may affect their performance.

Proper Storage

When you’re not wearing your stride rite shoes, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing them in plastic bags, as this can trap moisture and cause the shoes to develop a musty odor. Instead, use a shoe rack or a well-ventilated shoebox to keep them protected.

Rotate Shoes

Rotating your stride rite shoes can help prolong their lifespan. Wearing the same pair of shoes every day can lead to excessive wear and tear. By alternating between different pairs, you allow the shoes to rest and recover, reducing the risk of premature deterioration.

Use Protective Sprays

To safeguard your stride rite shoes from stains and water damage, consider applying a protective spray specifically designed for the shoe’s material. These sprays create a barrier that repels liquids and prevents them from penetrating the material. Follow the instructions provided by the spray manufacturer for the best results.

Regular Inspection

Periodically inspect your stride rite shoes for any signs of wear, loose stitching, or damage. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent further damage and extend the lifespan of your shoes. For any significant damage or repairs needed, it is advisable to consult a professional shoe repair service.

By following these maintenance and protection tips, you can ensure that your stride rite shoes remain in excellent condition and provide long-lasting comfort and support.

Cleaning Tips for Different Shoe Materials

Stride rite shoes come in various materials, each requiring specific cleaning techniques to maintain their quality and appearance. Here are some cleaning tips for different shoe materials:


Leather shoes should be cleaned using a soft cloth or brush to remove dirt and dust. For stubborn stains, use a leather-specific cleaner or a mixture of mild soap and water. Avoid immersing leather shoes in water, as it can damage the material. Apply a leather conditioner or polish to restore shine and maintain the suppleness of the leather.


Canvas shoes can be hand-washed using a gentle detergent and warm water. Scrub the surface with a soft brush or toothbrush to remove dirt and stains. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as they can cause discoloration. Allow the shoes to air dry naturally, and if needed, apply a fabric protector spray to repel liquids and stains.

Synthetic Materials

For shoes made from synthetic materials, such as nylon or polyester, hand-washing with warm water and a mild detergent is recommended. Scrub gently with a soft brush to remove dirt and stains. Rinse thoroughly and air dry. Avoid exposing synthetic materials to high heat, as it can cause them to melt or warp.

Suede or Nubuck

Cleaning suede or nubuck shoes requires a specialized approach. Use a suede brush or a soft cloth to gently brush away surface dirt and restore the nap of the material. For stubborn stains, use a suede eraser or a mixture of water and white vinegar. Avoid using excessive water, as it can leave watermarks. Finish by applying a suede or nubuck protector spray to repel stains and maintain the material’s texture.

Mesh or Knit

Mesh or knit shoes can be cleaned by hand-washing using a gentle detergent and warm water. Gently scrub the surface with a soft brush to remove dirt and stains. Rinse thoroughly and allow the shoes to air dry. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as they can damage the material. To maintain the shape of the shoes, stuff them with paper towels or newspaper while they dry.

By following these material-specific cleaning tips, you can effectively clean and maintain your stride rite shoes, regardless of the material they are made from.

Frequently Asked Questions

Got some burning questions about cleaning stride rite shoes? Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:

1. How often should I clean my stride rite shoes?

The frequency of cleaning depends on how often you wear the shoes and the level of dirt or stains they accumulate. As a general guideline, it is recommended to clean them every few weeks or when they appear visibly dirty or stained.

2. Can I machine-wash all stride rite shoes?

No, not all stride rite shoes are suitable for machine-washing. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions or the shoe’s label to determine if they can be machine-washed. Shoes made from delicate materials or those with intricate designs are typically better suited for hand-washing.

3. Can I use bleach to clean my stride rite shoes?

It is generally not recommended to use bleach on stride rite shoes, as it can cause discoloration or damage to the material. Instead, opt for a gentle detergent or specific cleaners designed for the shoe’s material.

4. How can I remove scuff marks from my shoes?

To remove scuff marks from your stride rite shoes, try using a pencil eraser or a mixture of baking soda and water. Gently rub the scuff marks with the eraser or the baking soda paste using a soft cloth. Test the method on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage.

5. Can I put my stride rite shoes in the dryer to speed up the drying process?

No, it is not recommended to put your stride rite shoes in the dryer. The high heat and tumbling motion can damage the shoes, alter their shape, and even cause them to shrink. Stick to air drying in a well-ventilated area for the best results.

6. How can I prevent my stride rite shoes from developing a musty odor?

To prevent musty odors, make sure your shoes are completely dry before storing them. Allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area, and consider using odor-absorbing products like baking soda or cedar shoe inserts. Regularly rotating your shoes and keeping them in a dry environment can also help prevent odors.

7. Can I use a hairdryer to dry my wet shoes?

It is best to avoid using a hairdryer to dry wet shoes, as the high heat can cause the shoes to shrink or deform. Instead, opt for air drying at room temperature. If you need to speed up the drying process, stuff the shoes with paper towels or newspaper to absorb excess moisture.

8. Can I use a washing machine to clean orthopedic stride rite shoes?

Orthopedic stride rite shoes may require special care and cleaning instructions. It is best to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or contact the company directly to ensure you are using the appropriate cleaning method for orthopedic shoes.

9. How can I protect the color of my stride rite shoes?

To protect the color of your stride rite shoes, avoid exposing them to direct sunlight for prolonged periods. UV rays can cause fading or discoloration. Additionally, using a protective spray designed for the shoe’s material can help prevent color fading and maintain their vibrant appearance.

10. What should I do if my stride rite shoes get wet in the rain?

If your stride rite shoes get wet in the rain, remove any excess water by gently blotting them with a clean cloth or paper towel. Stuff the shoes with newspaper or paper towels to absorb moisture and allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Avoid using direct heat sources, as they can cause damage to the shoes.

These frequently asked questions cover some common concerns when it comes to cleaning and maintaining stride rite shoes. By following these answers, you can ensure that your shoes remain in excellent condition and provide optimal comfort and support for your little one.

In conclusion, keeping your stride rite shoes clean and well-maintained is vital for their longevity and appearance. With the right supplies, techniques, and regular cleaning routine, you can ensure that your little one’s shoes always look their best. Whether you choose to hand-wash or machine-wash, remember to follow the specific guidelines for each cleaning method. Additionally, consider the material of your shoes and use appropriate cleaning techniques to prevent any damage. By incorporating these tips and tricks into your shoe care routine, your stride rite shoes will continue to sparkle and provide the perfect fit for your child’s adventures.

Related video of How to Clean Stride Rite Shoes: The Ultimate Guide for Sparkling Footwear