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It is hard to believe that it has been almost a decade since the Nike Flyknit shoe was released in 2012. I still remember my first pair. Admittedly I bought two pairs the very first year they were released. I can still tell you what each pair of Flyknits looked like.

I had a bright pink pair of their running shoes, and then an all-black casual pair. Both were in constant rotation in my wardrobe. The running shoes took quite a bit more abuse.

You do not want to cause any damage to the weave of the shoe, but you do want to keep them clean and fresh. Below we will talk about how to clean Nike Flyknits easily and safely without causing any damage to the innovative knit they are so well known for.

What makes Nike Flyknits special?

After hitting the market, these shoes literally flew off the shelf. They were something that the shoe market had not seen before. I can attest to that. It felt like the upper molded to your foot, and they were breathable and lightweight while being supportive.

Pink Nike Flyknits

As a runner, this is everything we look for in a shoe. The shoe is made of strong yet lightweight strands of yarn. Those strands are woven into a one-piece upper. Different types of knit patterns are in a single Flyknit upper. Some areas have a tighter weave to give your foot support.

Other areas of the shoe are designed to be more flexible or breathable. I do not know how they do it. All I know is that they are incredible. Their special knit fabric is what makes them such a phenomenal shoe. It does require you to treat them a bit differently when they get dirty.

Keeping the Flyknits clean and in excellent condition helps prolong their life. I have developed a few of my favorite cleaning methods and tips. I will let you in on my secrets below.

Do I need any special cleaning supplies?


My cleaning methods all use supplies and products you can buy online from your favorite retailer or out during your errands. I like to buy my products online and typically in a batch, that way, I can always have enough available whenever I need to clean any of my shoes.

The great thing about the cleaning products I use for my Nike Flyknits is that I use them to clean a variety of different sneakers, boots, and other types of shoes. I am all about multi-tasking when I can.

Here are the supplies I use when cleaning my Nike Flyknits:

That’s it! Six simple products. I told you I don’t use anything complicated or extensive.

No one has the time for a long cleaning process. You may have all of these at home, and if not, you can go pick them up today or tomorrow.

Once you have your cleaning supplies assembled, it is time to work through my method for the cleanest, meanest Nike Flyknits on the block. Now let’s get ready to start cleaning those Nikes! 

Smelling so fresh and so clean

With your products in hand, it is time to get those knit sneakers smelling and looking great. For me, this is an easy but necessary step that I do not skip with any of my sneakers, especially my running shoes.

Before I wash any of my sneakers, I always make sure they smell nice and fresh. My running shoes are always in desperate need of this. The easiest way I have found to do this is with baking soda and a plastic zip-top bag. 

The day before you wash your Flyknits pour baking soda into a gallon-size plastic bag. Set your shoes on top of the baking soda. You will want the bag to lay flat.

After closing the bag, set them aside for 24 hours. The next day when you pull out the shoes, they will smell great again. Tap off any excess baking soda into the garbage can before moving to clean the exterior of your shoes,

A special fabric takes special care

My Flyknits take a beating during my running, but because I always take good care cleaning them, they last me for hundreds of miles pounding the pavement. The knit fabric isn’t fragile but should be treated differently than a regular sneaker should be.

These will make sure yours will last you through all your miles, whether they are running sneakers or just casual wear. To clean your shoes:

Steps to cleaning Nike Flyknits

  1. Remove shoelaces – Clean these separately and set them aside to dry.
  2. Roll a clean sock and place it in the toe box of each shoe – This step helps retain the shape of the shoes during cleaning and drying.
  3. Take a soft cloth and moisten with warm water.
  4. Wipe the outsole, midsole of the shoe, and then dampen the knit upper.
  5. Squeeze some mild foaming cleanser onto your soft bristle brush.
  6. Lightly clean the knit in small circular motions – Not much force is needed as you do not want to damage the knit.
  7. Scrub the midsole and outsole using the same brush and circular motions.
  8. Use a second soft cloth moistened with water to clean excess soap from the entire shoe.
  9. Place your shoes somewhere cool to dry.  
  10. Relace your shoes.

What about the Nike Flyknit laces?

You do not have to worry! I did not forget about your shoelaces. They deserve their own special attention.

There are two ways you can get your laces clean and deserving of your fresh and clean knit shoes. You can hand wash or place them in the washing machine. The steps for both are below.  

To hand wash the laces:

  1. Fill a bowl with warm water and laundry detergent. 
  2. Place your laces in the bowl and massage to remove surface dirt.
  3. Let the laces soak for 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse the laces under running water.
  5. Air dry before relacing. 

To clean laces in the washing machine:

  1. Place in a mesh lingerie bag or pillowcase knotted at the end.
  2. Throw in the washing machine.
  3. Remove from the washing machine and air dry. Do not place them in the dryer as the plastic tips on the end can melt, and the laces themselves can shrink.

Easy and quick, right? I promised you I wouldn’t give you a complicated process! Now your Flyknits are clean and ready to hit the road again, or maybe just the grocery store. Hey, errands count as cardio too! There is no judgment here. 

Frequently asked questions about Nike Flyknits

Can you put Nike Flyknits in the washing machine?

No, this is not recommended. The Flyknit’s special material is fragile and can shrink considerably, causing damage to the shoe in the washing process. Soaking them in the water can also cause the glue to come undone.

Can you put Nike Flyknits in the dryer?

No, the heat produced by a dryer can cause the specialized glue to weaken, or worse yet, come completely undone.

Should I clean my Nike Flyknits by hand?

Yes, this is the safest and most effective way to ensure your Nike Flyknits come out pristine through the cleaning process. Take the time and clean them by hand. It does not take that long, and preserving your shoes is worth it.

Not all Nikes are made the same

Nike has so many different shoes made of different materials. Different materials mean that some of them will need to be cleaned a bit differently than others.

The variety of their collections and shoes continues to grow every season and year. If you are a Nike lover like me, I bet you have a few different Nikes in your closet. You can check out ways to clean other shoes like Air Force 1s, Huaraches, or Slides on sites devoted to cleaning.

No run stands a chance

You have learned how to clean your Flyknits like a pro. It is easy, affordable and will keep those breathable and lightweight sneakers ready for any run you have planned.

It could be a 12-mile training run or just a run to the grocery store. If you keep them clean and dry, they will be waiting for you outside your door or in your shoe closet.

Don’t let a muddy run or a messy, rainy day of errands keep those knit shoes from their place in your shoe rotation. They are too cool of a sneaker to sit in your closet. They’ve been “fly” for almost a decade after all! Let’s keep them around for years to come!