Keen sandals are some of the most popular options in the shoe market for hikers. Like any other shoes, however, Keen sandals are subject to mud and dirt as you traipse around the world on adventures.
Knowing how to properly wash your Keen sandals is important if you want them to stay clean and last for as long as possible.
Keen sandals are machine washable on a gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent. Keen produces the leather to be durable and not crack, stretch, or shrink. To maintain this leather stability Keens should air dry. Make sure to avoid any high heat such as dryers or sitting in direct sunlight.
For heavy-duty cleaning, the washing machine is your best bet. For any light cleaning or those who want to be extra careful, let’s talk about the best steps of handwashing Keens and important practices to avoid.
Steps for Washing Keen Sandals
Here’s everything that you need to know to properly wash and dry your Keen sandals!
Step 1 – Scrub Away Any Dirt
Before using a sudsy solution, begin by scrubbing the outside surface of your Keens. The best tool for this is a stiff-bristled brush to make sure that all the hardened dirt and mud comes off before washing.
After scrubbing the shoes dry, put them under running cold water. This is to make sure that all the loose dirt on the inside and outside gets washed away before adding the sudsy scrub. The water also helps get rid of extra dust that a brush may not be able to adequately brush off.
Step 2 – Put Together a Cleaning Solution
The next step is to get your sudsy solution ready. Just like if you were to wash the Keens in a washing machine, pour 1 tablespoon (15 milligrams) of dish soap or detergent into a bucket before adding the water.
Add lukewarm water to the bucket and make sure the solution becomes bubbly and sudsy. Adding the water should automatically activate the soap and create bubbles and suds in the solution. There is no specific ratio of water to soap needed, but in the end, the solution should be at least six cups to have enough to give your shoes a good wash.
Step 3 – Wash and Rinse the Sandals
Once your sudsy solution is ready, it’s time to get washing! Make sure that you are using a clean scrubbing brush, not the one you used to scrape off the dirt and dust beforehand.
Dip the clean brush into the solution and scrub both the inside and the outside of the Keens. Repeat this process, dipping the brush back into the sudsy solution as needed to re-wet, until the Keens are clean to your liking.
After the Keens are clean, rinse them under cold running water to get rid of the remaining suds. Squeeze out any excess water and let them air dry.
Important Things to Avoid
When washing and drying your Keen sandals, there are some very important things to avoid throughout the process.
Do not let your Keens air dry in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will create permanent cracks, color fading, and wrinkles. Aesthetically and functionally your Keens will stay the same as they were before the washing period and no polish or wax can fix it.
Do not put your Keen sandals into the dryer. The intense heat and cycling the machine does can ruin the external material of your shoes. More importantly, these are the materials that hold your shoe together like the glue between the sole and top.
In the same vein, do not use a blow dryer to speed up the process. The only way to ensure your shoes remain in great condition after washing and drying is to air dry in a shady place.
How Often Should You Clean Keen Sandals?
The main factor for how often they should be cleaned depends on how often they’re worn and for what activities. Once they begin to gather stuck on dirt or mud, it’s probably the right time to put them through deep cleaning.
Other Keen Cleaning Needs
Cleaning the dirt and dust off of your Keen sandals is the best way to start their care process and keep the outside shining. However, there are plenty of other parts that need a deeper clean like the insoles. Make sure that these necessities are also considered when cleaning your Keens.
When you’re in a rush and simply don’t have time for a laborious cleaning process, sometimes shoe fresheners can do the trick. Fresheners will not necessarily clean off the dirt and dust from your Keens, however it can help subdue the foot stench that can happen from overuse or lots of sweat sinking into the sandals.
For other sandals options, check out this comparison between Keen and Oboz.