How to Care for Barefoot Shoes – 25 Things You Should Know

Here are 25 general things you should know about caring for barefoot shoes.

1. How to clean barefoot shoes in general?

To clean my barefoot shoes, I use a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide has antibacterial properties, and baking soda is an excellent deodorizer.

Mix these two ingredients and pour the half mixture into each shoe. Leave the shoes for an hour or two and then rinse them. 

2. How to clean your barefoot shoe outsoles?

To clean the outsoles of shoes, don’t put them in a washing machine because it will damage the bonding. Use the following process:

  • Take the brush and remove dirt from the upper and outsole.
  • Take a warm soapy sponge or cloth and remove the marks.
  • Remove the insoles and soak the barefoot shoes in warm soapy water if the shoes need deep cleaning. 
  • Soak for a maximum of 30 minutes and rinse with cold water.
  • Gently squeeze the shoes to remove excess water and let them air dry naturally. 

3. How to clean your barefoot shoe uppers?

a shoe shine kit lies on fabric

Cold weather and mud give a hard time to the barefoot shoe uppers. However, regular care will extend the shoes’ lifespan, and here are the ways to clean barefoot shoe uppers.

  • Take a brush or damp cloth to clean the shoe uppers.
  • Remove the coarse dirt on shoe uppers with a brush.
  • A wet sponge or cloth can remove the dirt marks on shoe uppers.
  • Let them dry at room temperature.

4. How to clean your barefoot shoe insoles?

Follow these guidelines to clean the barefoot shoe insoles.

  • Remove the insoles and brush off debris like dirt.
  • Clean the insoles with warm soapy water.
  • Scrub the insoles with a brush in a circular motion, particularly around the heel and toe areas.
  • After scrubbing, remove soap residue with a clean sponge or cloth.
  • Let the insoles dry thoroughly before putting them back in the shoes.

5. How to dry your barefoot shoes?

The cold and rainy weather makes the shoes wet and dirty. If the shoes get wet, they need to be dried instantly. Dry the boots at room temperature as it is the best way to increase shoes’ lifespan.

Never try to dry your shoes using a stove or radiator. Providing excessive heat will cause shrinkage of leather. Dry at room temperature where there is proper ventilation.

6. How to clean leather barefoot shoes?

a broken shoe in sand

Leather shoes change shape, color, and texture when they get wet, so they need proper cleaning like described below:

  • First, let the shoes dry and clean any dirt or mud with a brush.
  • Use a warm damp cloth to remove stubborn dirt.
  • Use a high-quality natural wax for leather and massage generously with your hands.
  • Apply the wax to the seams and the area where soles meet uppers so water cannot fill the gaps.
  • Leave it overnight and buff with a cloth to make it shine.

7. How to avoid shrinking leather in your barefoot shoes?

Leather in barefoot shoes may shrink when wet. The best way to avoid shrinking leather in barefoot shoes is to dry them at room temperature.

Heat sources such as drying shoes using a stove or radiator may cause leather shoe shrinkage. Also, avoid soaking shoes in warm water while cleaning as it may also cause shrinkage.

8. How to clean fabric barefoot shoes?

Fabric shoes are not sturdy like other materials, so I usually clean them with a wet little soapy rag. Sometimes, I put them in the washing machine to handle it if they need deep cleaning.

Another method I use is to soak them in OxiClean and then rinse them with water. 

9. How to clean synthetic barefoot shoes?

I usually clean synthetic barefoot shoes with several methods such as cleaning with a wet soapy rag, washing them in the washing machine, soaking them in a cleaner.

Among most of them, the technique I frequently use is to keep them on the floor while taking a shower, and then I remove dirt and mud with a toothbrush. After that, I let them dry at room temperature.

10. How to clean barefoot sandals?

one blue and black Genesis xero sandal

Here is the method that I use to clean my sandals.

  • Take one tbsp of mild liquid laundry detergent and mix it with one cup of water. Mix it well, and it will be enough to clean three pairs of sandals.
  • Scrub the insoles with a toothbrush and remove stains and dirt.
  • Use a soft towel for drying and let it dry naturally for up to 24 hours.

11. What will you need to clean your barefoot shoes?

There are three things that I use to clean my barefoot shoes. These are baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and a toothbrush. First, mix the two ingredients in the water tub and soak the barefoot shoes for an hour.

Then, clean them with a toothbrush to remove stubborn marks and let them dry naturally.

12. How to protect your barefoot shoes from dirt?

When some of my barefoot shoe pairs are not used, I usually cover them to avoid dirt. I usually keep my shoes in the shoebox and keep them in the shoe rack most of the time.

I use a drawstring dust cover for those shoes that do not fit in the shoe rack to keep them away from dirt.

13. How to adjust the fit of your barefoot shoes?

i hold a rolled up leguano barefoot sock between my fingers

I usually buy unlined leather or fabric shoes and a leather insole. These types of shoes are a great fit and comfortable. On the other hand, synthetic lining shoes do not have a lot of conforming.

Apart from this, I usually check my shoes by wearing and walking in the shop for the best fit.

14. Can you wash Vivobarefoot shoes?

No, do not wash Vivobarefoot shoes in a washing machine as it will cause damage to the shoe bonding. Instead of using a washing machine, clean them with a wet soapy sponge or cloth.

Then, remove the insole, soak the trainer in soapy water for 30 minutes, and rinse in cold water for deep cleaning. 

15. How to care for Vivobarefoot leather shoes?

Vivobarefoot leather shoes need extra care for a longer lifespan. First, keep them away from dirt and place them in a shoe rack. If the shoes get wet or muddy, use a toothbrush to remove the mud and dirt.

Then take a damp cloth to remove stubborn marks. After drying, apply natural wax for leather with your hands. Please do not dry leather shoes at the stove or radiator as it will shrink the leather.

16. How to stretch your barefoot shoes?

Sometimes, when I received my shoes, they were too tight. So the technique I use to stretch my barefoot shoes is to stuff them with socks.

The other methods that I use to extend my shoes are to load them with a battery, golf ball, and chapstick to stretch the specific area of the shoes. 

17. Can you wash Merrell’s shoes?

a pair of black merrell barefoot shoes with soles on meadow

To clean Merrell’s shoes, use the following method:

  • Regularly, use a soft brush to remove the dirt surface.
  • If the boots get muddy, wash with mild soap and warm water. 
  • Ensure rinsing off all the soap residue to avoid attracting dirt.
  • To dry Merrell’s shoes, remove the insoles and let them dry at room temperature. 

18. Can I wash Merrell’s shoes in the washing machine?

If Merrell’s shoes get dirty and need washing, do not ever put them in the washing machine. Washing Merrell’s shoes in a washing machine will damage the shoes.

Instead, the best way to wash is hand washing, increasing the shoes’ lifespan.  

19. How to adjust the ankle strap length in your barefoot shoes?

If the ankle strap length has fewer holes, it will create a problem adjusting the ankle strap. To change the ankle strap length, I usually use a hammer and nail to make more holes.

First, I mark the strap where I need to make holes and then carefully make holes with a hammer and nail. 

20. How to fill in extra space in your barefoot shoes?

Sometimes I have to fill the extra space in my barefoot shoes because I have narrow feet, and additional space is left in my shoes. The most frequent technique I use to fill extra space is to add sticky felt pads.

Sticky felt pads have different shapes and sizes, and I choose them according to my need. 

21. How to modify the color of your barefoot shoes?

Some shoes change color with them, or leather changes its color when it gets wet. To modify the color of my barefoot shoes, I use shoe polish that gives a new shine to the shoe uppers.

For leather shoes, I sometimes use leather paint that comes in different color options. Sometimes, I mix colors to get the exact shade of the color of my shoe.

22. How to polish your barefoot shoes?

To polish barefoot shoes, I use two things: shoe polish and brush. First, I apply the polish and buff the surface with a brush. It brings a shine on the shoe uppers.

Do not apply excessive polish on the shoes because some shoes like leather absorb polish, so there is no need to stuff it with polish.

23. How to prevent barefoot shoes from smelling?

a broken shoe in sand

I use different methods to prevent my barefoot shoes from smelling as described below:

  • I always wear fresh socks to avoid smells.
  • I keep my shoes in a well-ventilated area and clean them frequently.
  • I wash my barefoot shoes with a damp cloth to prevent bacteria from forming that cause smell.
  • I spray them with a non-toxic deodorizer or air freshener.

24. How to remove foul odors from barefoot shoes?

I remove foul odors from barefoot shoes by following methods:

  • I put a mixture of cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda in a pair of socks and let them be left in the shoes overnight.
  • I keep a solution of white vinegar and water in the bottle and spray my barefoot shoes to battle the odor.

25. Will socks help prevent shoe odor in barefoot shoes?


The socks made of sweat-wicking material keep the shoes and feet drier. These fibers keep the sweat away so it can evaporate.

It means that these socks will prevent bacteria formation in the boots and keep the shoe odor-free.


As you can see, barefoot shoes should be taken care of just like other shoes. Especially pay attention to the material and the type of dirt. Then nothing should stand in the way of a long, clean, and good smelling shoe life.

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