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How to Wash Vibram Five Fingers

Updated on June 17, 2014

How to Wash Vibram Five Fingers Running Shoes

Here you will learn how to wash Vibram Five Fingers running shoes. I love my Vibrams, but boy do they get dirty. At a pricey $100 or more a pair, it can be quite scary to just toss them in the wash. Here I'll explain exactly how to clean your Vibrams. My husband and I each have a pair of Five Fingers and we have successfully washed them many times over the past couple of year. Your Five Fingers shoes will last a long time if you properly care for them. Read on to learn how to wash Vibrams.

*Image: Photo of my personal Vibram Five Fingers shoes and my husband's ready to be washed.

My Husband's Very Dirty and Smelly FiveFingers
My Husband's Very Dirty and Smelly FiveFingers

Vibram Five Fingers Can Get Stinky

Vibram Five Finger shoes can reek

If you own a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, then you know that they can get quite fact they can reek. All Vibrams are treated with an anti-microbial that prohibits the growth of bacteria. But Five Fingers aren't frilly dress shoes, they're a fitness shoe that is intended to be used while exercising and living an active life. This combined with the fact that most people wear them without socks, creates the perfect setting for some seriously bad odors.

One huge tip for keeping your Vibrams odor free is prevention. Be sure your feet are clean before putting on your Five Fingers shoes. If you wash your feet and dry them before putting the shoes on, it will be much easier to keep them smelling good.

If that isn't enough to keep your Vibrams free of what is known as the VFF stank, there is still hope because Five Fingers are washable!

Athletic Toe Socks - Toe socks to wear with Vibram Five Fingers

Another way to prevent odors from forming in your Five Fingers shoes is to wear socks with them. Athletes that prefer to wear socks with their Vibrams choose this pair more than any other toe sock.

My Vibrams in the Wash.
My Vibrams in the Wash.

Vibram Five Finger Shoes are Washable!

Your five finger running shoes are machine washable!

You read right. Vibram Five Fingers shoes are machine washable. It says so on the Vibram faq page.

I was very apprehensive about tossing my Vibrams in the wash, even though the company advertises their shoes, even the leather ones, as all being machine washable. I'm very attached to my Vibrams. I wish I could wear Five Fingers shoes every day for all occasions. Not only do I love them, but they are also expensive, so I really want to be careful with my pair. Therefore, I ended up putting off washing my Vibrams until they were so dirty that I had no choice.

I read the directions on Vibram's site several times to make sure I hadn't misunderstood. Vibram says to wash your shoes in the washer on a gentle cycle with warm water and then hang to dry. Never, ever dry your Vibrams in the dryer. Also, if you have one of the leather models don't let them dry in direct sunlight or they will shrink.

I have a front loader washer that doesn't have an agitator. I washed mine in cold water, set to a medium-low spin cycle, with a load of t-shirts and my kids' play clothes. They came out clean and didn't look the least bit worn. They did fit slightly different after washing, much like your favorite jeans do after washing, but after wearing them for several minutes they fit like a glove again. I love my Vibrams!

Tip for Stubborn FiveFinger Odor

If your Vibram Five Fingers really smell bad and washing them in the washer doesn't solve the problem, wash them again but this time put white vinegar in the rinse cycle. If you have a front loader, simply put vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser.

For Stubborn Five Fingers Odors - There is hope for very stinky Vibrams

Kiwi Fresh force is most popular for getting stinky odors out of golf shoes. It's now been discovered by many Vibram lovers. It rids Five Fingers shoes of their smelly funk when regular washings alone don't do the job.

How to Dry Vibrams

Never dry Vibram Five Fingers in the dryer. Instead, simply hang or lay your Vibrams out to dry, while avoiding direct sunlight. I just set mine out on the kitchen counter to dry. The good news is they dry very fast. Several times I've stepped in a puddle, soaking my Vibrams, and they are almost completely dry before I make it back home.

My Freshly Washed Vibram Five Fingers Shoes

My Freshly Washed Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
My Freshly Washed Vibram Five Fingers Shoes

Remember they are machine washable, but never dry them in the dryer. Also, don't dry them in direct sunlight.

Did You Know How to Wash Vibram Five Fingers Shoes? - Thanks fo visiting

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    • Wendy Leanne profile image

      Wendy Leanne 5 years ago from Texas

      @markkeeler: The tip to not dry them in direct sunlight is what Vibram recommends, so I've never tested the theory. They are so expensive that I'd hate to have mine shrink any. However, I think that the shrinkage only occurs with the models that are made with coconut fibers.

    • markkeeler profile image

      markkeeler 5 years ago

      I always leave my Vibram's out in the direct sunlight. We run in direct sunlight, so there is no reason not to dry them in the sun. Natural sunlight kills the germs and mold that give your Vibram's that nasty funk.

      barefoot running shoes sure have helped me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I just recently found an additional prevention tool that helps keep my FiveFingers Stink free: It's like an insole, made of yoga mat, by a company called 5 Digit Socks. They call it a "Flat Sock". They're really absorbent, and since I can wash them instead of my FiveFingers, this helps my FiveFingers stay nicer longer, without having to machine wash them as often, which is really nice. And thank you for the washing/cleaning tips. They will come in handy if/when my VFF's reach the point of no return!:P

    • Wendy Leanne profile image

      Wendy Leanne 6 years ago from Texas

      @GrowWear: That's a really good point to make. My husband and I each only have 1 pair and they are always available to use daily.

    • profile image

      GrowWear 6 years ago

      Love that they air dry very fast. Makes me think one would need only one pair and not an additional "rotation" pair.