Coronavirus and shoes

Coronavirus and Shoes

Coronavirus has caused illness and death for tens of thousands of people worldwide. As cities and countries begin to issue quarantine and shelter in place orders, there is an increased scrutiny of what we can do in our homes to protect from passing Coronavirus. In addition, as the virus starts to spread and more shelter in place orders are issued, often except for physical activity and exercise, it;s helpful to know when we lace up our atlhetic shoes to keep our minds calm and body active during this challenging and scary time that we can take action to mitigate the transportation of the virus back into our homes. The article titled “How to Help Kill the Coronavirus on Your Shoes” written by Barbara Schneider-Levy on talks about what we can do the kill the virus on our shoe surfaces.

I find much of the news regarding Coronavirus is scary, but on the flip side, I find that the more I research the calmer I feel. In the article, Infectious disease specialist Mary E. Schmidt said that  that the Coronavirus may be able to live on footwear for five days or more, based on studies that have been conducted on materials similar to those used in shoes. In addition, here are steps to be used to clean shoes by their type:

Fabric Shoes: Usually, athletic shoes are leather or equivalent, but due to the new style of knit uppers in running, badminton and tennis shoes this style is more likely to be seen in shoes for these sports. The article states:

Shoes made of fabric like mesh or canvas can be cleaned in the washing machine. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) recommends washing fabrics at a high temperature (140°F), with a product containing bleach, to enhance the disinfectant results.”

Consider color-safe bleach should be considered to protect those really cool colors and patterns with these shoes. Another consideration is to use hydrogen peroxide instead of color safe bleach to provide increased color protection. In addition, consider using vinegar as a more “green” approach instead of bleach to provide a gentler way to sanitize your shoes.

Leather Shoes: Most athletic shoes are made from leather or an equivalent material. Besides Basketball and running shoes, others such as cycling shoes would fall under this category. To clean these shoes, the article states:

Use soap and water to remove visible dirt. Then, use 70% alcohol and water to disinfect the rest of the surfaces (just test on an inconspicuous area on the shoe to make sure no damage will occur). In addition, in the Footwear News article “The Coronavirus May Be Able to Live on Shoes for Five Days, According to an Expert” Infectious disease specialist Mary E. Schmidt told HuffPost that the coronavirus may be able to live on footwear for five days or more, based on studies that have been conducted on materials similar to those used for shoes.

So to disinfect those shoe soles, remove all the debris from the sole and then use the same alcohol and water mixture to disinfect.


The Coronavirus pandemic needs to be taken seriously, make sure to heed national, state and local guidance. If guidelines allow it, go do your physical activity (within social distancing guidelines), wash your hands and disinfect yourself, your house and your athletic shoes as necessary. Stay safe and hopefully, life will get back to normal real soon!