We must bear in mind that although road cycling shoes do not usually suffer as much as MTB shoes, they also they get a lot of dust and dirt that is in the environment and the asphalt or the mud and dirt that sticks on rainy daysin addition to the “typical” the toe rubs against the tire of the bike (usual in small sizes).
What does wear out more quickly are the cleats, as the sole of these shoes is not designed for walking and therefore does not protect them when we get off the bike. In addition, since it is made of plastic instead of metal, they are more affected by the opening and “scaling” process.
Cleaning cycling shoes
It should be noted that the dust and pollution that adheres to the cover of our sneakers is one of its main enemies, since in addition to the dirty appearance, it wears and oxidizes the materials such as the screws of the wedges or metal parts of the enclosures.
It’s convenient clean them from time to time and every day that we have gone out in the rain. We must too be careful when storing them, especially if they are damp or wet, paying special attention to the state in which they are left alone. But let’s go in parts:
With outings on normal days, when the shoes don’t get dirty and only get dust, we can wipe the cover with a damp cloth or towel. We can too brush it very gently or, if we haven’t cleaned them for a long time, one foam sponge with water and very little soapthen removing the remnants of soap with a moistened cloth.
Hardly any road cycling shoes will be very full of mud, but if so the best way to clean them is to use a hose with warm water and use a soft brush with soap and water. Many times we resort to gas station hangers, but it is not recommended, since in these devices the water comes out with a lot of pressure and very hot, which can damage the tissues and other parts.
An element that can be used to clean the shoes is the wet wipes (of those used with babies) which, in addition to dust, are usually more than enough to remove the typical stains from having rubbed us with the tire.
A small brush with soft bristles (like a used but clean toothbrush) will allow us clean in the corners that remain in the closing systems such as the BOA type or micrometric ratchet. With this type of brushes we can also clean the coves (sometimes mud and other dirt gets stuck) or velcro strips.
In addition, in this case the most important thing is that we are conscientious with the rinsing because no soap remains and let’s take them out. We can take advantage of remove the templates and clean them thoroughly.
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The key in this case is leave them to dry in a ventilated and warm place, but in which, if possible, do not give it a source of heat or the sun directly. Then, when they are very dry, we have to make sure that the templates are also, we keep them in a ventilated place for avoid bad smells. We can too put them in an absorbent paper or cloth which helps us to speed up the drying process.
One last point, which most of the time you don’t need to do, is hydrate the sneakers, both inside and out, with special creams (like the so-called horse fat). You don’t really need to, since with a good cleaning and the treatment they take to the covers the shoes themselves will be shinybut it can always be done if we have left them for a long time with powder and the skin parts are dry. It can also be used if we need to soften some inner point that has formed a fold and is being squeezed.
The bays, maintenance and replacement
The cleats of cycling shoes do not require special maintenance beyond the cleaning that we have seen, the care that the screws do not rust and check their condition from time to time to replace them. Sometimes we can find that some stones or branches have been left in the corners, although it is more complicated since the sole is flat. You can remove them with the help of some tool and a lot of care
The most important thing in this case is that we we ensure that the cove is not damaged or excessively wornas it could cause our foot to come off at the most inopportune moment. There is no key that tells us when to change themsince it depends a lot on the use we give them, how long and where we walk with them and the times we put them in and take them out of the pedals.
In this case experience is key, since in addition to look carefully to see if fissures or excessively worn edges appearagainst the minimum symptom of fatigue or lack of engagement we replace them, as their price is quite contained and it is not worth the risk.
If we tend to walk a lot in our shoes (long stops in the middle of the routes, or before the start in cycling tours) a good option to protect them is buy a plastic wedge protector which will prevent premature wear by constantly rubbing against the floor.
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Finally, what not to do in sneakers
There are certain things that they should never be done if we don’t want to damage the sneakers. The first is do not put them in the dishwasher or washing machinesince the most certain thing is that we end up spoiling both things. Not in the dryer eitherno matter how wet they are, since the heat and the drying form is very aggressive with the fabric.
Likewise, when storing them or after washing them, we cannot leave water inside. It is very important remove all the water and dry them wellsince if we keep them moist and the air does not circulate well inside them, the humidity, in addition to spoiling them or rotting some parts, it will leave a bad smell.
To dry the best is look for a temperate zone where neither the sun nor a heat source directly affects it such as radiators or stoves. In the latter case, they can be left close, but never attached or on top of them.