My FiveFingers

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How Do You Clean Your FiveFingers?

by Brian Patterson » on Jun 24, 2011 33

It seems like, on a near daily basis, we receive questions via email, Twitter, and Facebook on how to keep FiveFingers clean, how to wash them, how to remove stenches from them, etc.  For example…

[blackbirdpie url=”!/jennmaclovin75/status/81541987144187907″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/senatorbrett/status/83603676991733760″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/pepdal/status/81823873515012097″]


There are many, many different ways to keep your FiveFingers clean. Rather than us tell you what we think, we’d like to open this up for tips from our community.  So, let us know in the comments below how you keep yours clean! We’ll also add Tweets and Facebook tips to this page to serve as the ultimate resource for keeping your FiveFingers clean.

Submitted Comments

  1. Alden says:

    Looking for tips as well. Have had my KSOs for 1 week, ran in them twice and they are already humming Atomic Dog.

  2. Brandon says:

    I make sure to wash them regularly (once every week or two) with my running and biking clothes and put about 1 cup of vinegar in with the wash. I let that soak for about 40 minutes before I let the agitator start, then hang them up to dry. They come out pretty clean smelling. This has the added advantage of getting the funk out of my running and biking clothes too.

  3. Dan says:

    A continual spray from the hose after a run.. Let those suckers air dry.

  4. Mike says:

    I’ve played with a few different ways, but what I generally come back to the most is what Vibram has in their FAQs.

    They say to machine wash on gentle with warm water. You can use liquid or powdered detergent. Then just hang them up to air dry.

    Seems to work pretty good, but I can understand that some people need a more heavy-duty cleaning solution for really bad funk.

  5. Lucas says:

    With my KSOs, I rinse them each night and rest them on a fan to dry. They are always dry by morning. Maybe once a month I will actually scrub them with oxyclean.

    The fan is important, without the fan they take much longer to dry.

  6. David says:

    We put them in a washable garment bag and wash them on a cool, gentle cycle with other clothes. Then we leave them out to air dry. They dry quickly. This has worked with our Classics, KSO, Bikila, and Bikila LS without any problems.

  7. Jason says:

    I have a front load washer with lots of options. I put them in by themselves, with a little cold water detergent, set the washer to hand wash or gentle with no spin cycle, and let ‘er rip. Then I hang them up to dry.
    I have a pair of TrekSport and Kimodo, washed them both dozens of times and they are holding up great.

  8. Jason says:

    oh and as Brandon said I tend to wash them about once a week.

  9. Melanie says:

    I sometimes wash them in the washer but usually by hand. I have smartwool classics and komodosports. The smartwools I don’t want to shed or pill, and the komodosports I don’t want the velcro to snag on things, which is why I don’t machine wash them normally.

    What I do is, I run a sinkfull of warm water and dissolve 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup laundry detergent in the water. I let them soak in it for about 10 minutes, then give a gentle scrub with a soft nail brush to the insoles to remove crud. Then I rinse them thoroughly in the tub, and hang them on a fan to dry.

    I like the komodosports best because the removable insole makes them a million times easier to clean, and also faster to dry. However, they do need to be cleaned more frequently, because they don’t breathe as well.

    I made a little drying rack out of bent wire clothes hangars, which I hook onto a big box fan for rapid drying. If you vigorously shake the water off (being careful to hold them securely so you don’t damage them or your walls) that helps, too, like a spin-cycle.

    That said, we wash my husband’s VFFs in the machine, because he would rather just replace anything that gets damaged than have to wash his shoes by hand.

    As for schedule, I wash them when I feel like I need to. The smartwool classics only need to be washed every couple of weeks unless they get dirty with mud or something, but the komodosports need washing every week.

  10. Dustin Dillberg says:

    I like to use a product called greenMAXpro (teatree/GSE/geranium), just spray them a couple times after a hose off… then sun-dry!!! The sun tends to kill off a bunch of the bacteria and keep them smelling great! @dustindillberg

  11. Mike Hickman says:

    I use whatever laundry detergent and a cap-full of PineSol. Not 100% clean smelling, but with over 300 miles, they are still bearable.

  12. Christine says:

    I put a dryer sheet in my Sprints each time I wear them (i put a new sheet in each and only change them every few weeks)…occasionally spray them with febreeze allergen reducer spray…and when they get muddy or really smelly I’ll throw em in the wash with warm water & laundry detergent, then air dry overnight. Super easy…i wear them daily to run, bike, lift, tennis, frisbee, hike, etc. and I swear the dryer sheets are the best suggestion I have ever been given. 1.5 years later my vibrams still smell like new!

  13. Victor says:

    I soak my classics in warm water with a little bit of powdered laundry soap and a cap of pine-sol. Then I use an old tooth brush to scrub the toe pockets. I give them a good rinse and air dry. After I wear mine I spray the insides with Lotrimin Anti-fungal to keep the bacteria in check. Plus the spray works great for the toe pocks. So I have no major issues with the stank factor.

  14. Matt says:

    I treat my VFF’s like socks and wash them after each use or every other use in cold water with Penguin sport-wash. No funk yet….

  15. Jessica says:

    When I had my Sprints and no socks, I rinsed them every night and used Element laundry detergent to wash them about once per week (every other week after I had them a while). I’ve had my KSO Treks for 2 weeks now, and with socks (I wear Injinjis), I haven’t needed to rinse them once since I put them on.

    Disclaimer: I did wash the KSO Treks when I got them home to get any excess dye out.

  16. Marcus says:

    Couldn’t be easier as far as I’m concerned. I take a bucket, drop in about a tablespoon of detergent and the same amount of bleach and fill with water until covered. Squish them around a bit and let them sit for an hour or two. Remove, angle them against my garage in the sun . . .bingo bango bongo. Done and done.

  17. Jon says:

    I’ll put my two cents in here, since I have been wearing my VFF’s for about a year now, non stop. For me, it’s an every day thing. I can’t stand socks and tying shoes. Too many steps.

    Anyway, I first throw them in the soak section of my washer. I’ll put in a little fabric softener so the bubbles don’t over power. Today I use Dove shampoo, only because I had it laying around and I can’t use it on my head *long story*

    I let them soak for about 20 min. Then I take all four out, leaving the water in the tub. I take a scrub brush and scrub the hell out of them inside and out with a dabble of Dove. One at a time, I dunk them back into the water and hit the washer to the rinse section where it swishes it back and fourth violently until all the soap is off. Then I turn it to spin. Once all the water is out, I stop before it actually starts to spin. I arrange them in a pattern so that once it does start spinning, the shoes go open part, against the wall. I’ll let it spin for about a minute getting all the water out.

    Once they are not dripping in the least, I take the shoes inside to a kitchen basket *ya know, the kind hanging from the ceiling with three baskets going from small to big at the bottom for all your vegetables and fruit*. I place them in the bottom basket in a cross pattern, heal to heal. In the second basket I place a heater fan facing down. It gets the shoes dry in about fifteen minutes.

    Once the Dove is used up, I’ll try some peppermint castle soap. I’m still trying to find the perfect soap, as to keep them fresh for more than just half the day. Any suggestions are welcome. Have a good day :D

  18. Jon says:

    P.S.- I had classics for about six months, drying them in the dryer. Something they tell you not to do. But it worked just fine. Then I got a pair of sprints. I tossed them in JUST once, and they literally fell apart. That is why I came up with this method, and have not had a problem sense. *besides smell*

  19. Victor says:

    It’s been hot in San Diego so I wash my classics in the tub everyday with a small scrub brush and let air dry. Once a week they get tossed in the wash. Oh, I put my classics next to the window where the sun shines in my apt. Quick easy stink free and ready for the next day.

  20. Belinda says:

    I use Sink the Stink once a week. Same stuff I use on my wetsuits. Rinse them every evening in the shower and airdry.

  21. Eduardo says:

    what happens to them if they get thrown in the dryer?

  22. Jessica says:

    I think it just shortens their shelf-life. I only use the dryer if I’m in a hurry, and I keep it at a medium temperature. I’d toss an old sheet in with them, too. Keeps the the dryer a little better balanced and helps the shoes along.

  23. Martin says:

    I wash warm warm water on gentle with a little pine sol, lemon scent. Works great! Air dry and ready to go! Also works great with gym clothes, biking clothes, and oily greasy clothing.

  24. Jenna says:

    I wash mine probably every other week with my clothes…and let them air dry…I have used vinegar as well..I have a pair that I use for only putzing around and work…and if I’m not able to wash them on the spot and they really stink..I have on hand some baking soda that I pour in the shoes and that seems to keep them at bay.

  25. Joseph says:

    I’ve got some stink issues so I pumice my feet and throw the Vibrams in the wash in a mesh bag drying is the problem especially in the warmer months I guess the dryer who gives anyway?

  26. jc says:

    I like to use powde dutrgent suck as tide or my fav rockin green… Use a small amount and wash on delicate cycle on cold water then hang to dry :)

  27. Adam Bush says:

    I wear my KSOs a lot; to the gym (3-5 x’s per week,) and to work (1-2 12 hour shifts.) They get pretty funky, even with washing and the occasional powdering. I found this recipe, which works pretty well:

    Things you’ll need:

    A bowl of hand hot (not boiling) water
    1/2 tablespoon of Baking Soda
    1/2 tablespoon of Baking Powder
    1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
    3 drops of Lemon Oil*
    5 drops of Peppermint Oil*
    *Aromatherapy oils will do.


    Soak the Vibrams for an hour or two in the solution above (preferably overnight);
    If heavily soiled use an old toothbrush to clean inside the toe pockets;
    Fasten any loose velcro attachments;
    Machine or hand wash in warm water;
    Hang them up to dry (for obvious reasons do not tumble dry).

    The website where I found it:

  28. Muffin says:

    I throw them in the washing machine and use sport specific detergent. Air dry is the only way to go.

  29. Leah says:

    Spritzing the inside with an enzymatic pet-mess cleaner (I use Nature’s Miracle) and letting it sit for a few minutes before you wash them as usual helps eliminate the smell.

  30. Margaret says:

    I wash regularly after soaking in denture tablets and sun dry. But in between I spray Extreme Simple Solution. They smell great.

  31. Susie says:

    Here is what I just used:
    a bucket of hot water
    1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (good odor neutralizer and disinfectant/antibacterial)
    10 drops of tea tree oil
    a healthy squirt of John Frieda “Root Awakening” shampoo (it irritates my scalp but happens to have peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree extracts in it which are all known for their disinfecting properties)

    Mixed it all up, dropped my komodosports in, let em soak for an hour or so and air dry!

    They smell kind of minty and fresh actually, mixed with that rubbery new-vibram smell. And after days of hiking in Israel and Jordan plus running in near 100 degree Texas weather, not too shabby!

  32. Tara says:

    I throw mine in the washing machine. As an added step when they are super stinky I use my deodorant crystal ( ) on the foot bed. This kills any bacteria that are actually causing the odor. Then I let them air dry. Works like a charm every time!

  33. Sam says:

    I clean mine out once every week or two with just some PineSol & a toothbrush. I take a teaspoon or so of PineSol per shoe, swish it around a little & let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Then I mix a little water in with it & scrub the inside thoroughly with the toothbrush. This allows you to get all the way inside the toes with an abrasive material to scrub the smelly bacteria out. Then just rinse & dry in front of a fan.

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