Sandal Care Tips: Yes, You Need to Wash Them

Sandal Care Tips: Yes, You Need to Wash Them

As we say around here at KEEN, “You wash your socks, so why not your sandals?!”

Feet, and the sandals worn directly on them (!!!), get a lot of action in the summer—from flip-flop time at the beach to dusty hikes to mucky SUP launches and kayak portaging. By design, sandals are open and airy, which is a very awesome thing when trying to stay cool but not so great when it comes to keeping debris out.

And then there is sweat—which, along with s’mores, sunburn, and sangria, is one of those “s” words that make this sunshiny season what it is.

Bottom line: All that fun adds up to not-so-fresh sandals by mid-summer. But, no worries, you can eliminate smelly feet from the rest of the summer with a little sandal cleaning action. Read on for sandal care tips that apply to our men’s, women’s, and kids’ sandals.

A woman jumping on a raft in the water

Machine Wash Your Water Sandals

You can throw your KEEN Newport, Whisper, Clearwater, Venice—and all KEEN Kids—sandals right into the washing machine. KEEN water sandals with synthetic webbing are machine-washable on a gentle cycle, in cold water, and with a mild detergent. Instead of putting them in the dryer, simply allow them to air dry, preferably outside.

You can also hand-wash your water sandals in the sink with NikWax Base Wash, an odor-eliminating product for synthetic materials used in outdoor gear.

Wash Non-Water Sandals with Care

For non-water sandals, like UNEEK, they require a little more hand holding due to things like cord construction and leather uppers. Use a soft cloth or brush to remove any excess dirt, and then wipe the inside of the footbed with a slightly damp cloth and mild soap.

Freshen Up Any Removable Insoles

Some KEEN sandals have removable insoles. Pulling them out and washing by hand with a soft cloth and mild detergent can give them a quick refresh in between washing. (This is good advice for any shoe with a removable insole.)

Scrub Those Lugs

Our all-terrain sandals are “luggy” for a reason: To give you better grip on the trail and while navigating rocky streams. After active use, give those lugs a quick scrub with a bristled brush to keep them clear and ready for the next adventure.

A man holding a sandboard

Extra Tips and Tricks from the KEEN Garage

Leather sandals should be conditioned periodically. Many people think of leather care when it comes to boots, but sandals are exposed to all the same elements (just warmer) and need just as much love. Our Garage staff recommends oiling the leather upper of your sandals once in a while. (We like the Otter Wax Leather Care Kit.)

Throw towels into the laundry with your sandals. When machine-washing water sandals, add a couple of towels to the load to cushion the shoes and reduce noise.

Let your synthetic sandals bask in the UV rays of the sun. Drying your non-leather sandals in direct sunlight kills bacteria and helps remove stubborn stains in white material (such as the white cords in UNEEK sandals).

Rub tea tree oil inside for natural odor control. When clean and dry, rub tea tree essential oil into the upper lining and footbed. Not only does it help with odor, it also has antibacterial properties.

A child playing in the dirt

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