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4 Tips To Keep Sand Out Of Running Shoes

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Running on the beach is lovely. Running on the beach with sand in your shoes? Not so much. No matter how tightly you cinch your laces, it’s like there is a sand portal built into your running shoes destined to ruin your run. 

Selecting the right running shoes and picking the perfect stretch of beach is your first line of defense.

 If sand still finds its way inside, be sure to check out my tips below to help get rid of all of the excess sand to ensure that your shoes are ready for your next big adventure!

Will Running On Sand Ruin My Shoes?

If you have only worn your favorite running shoes on dry sidewalks and paved roads, you may be a little apprehensive about taking them for a run on a messy beach. Fear not! Your running shoes were built to withstand a whole lot more than a little bit of packed sand or soft sand. Running on the beach will certainly not ruin your shoes.

However, beach running requires a little bit more aftercare to your shoes than running on the sidewalk, but the benefits far outweigh the additional maintenance. 

Running on the beach soothes the soul, recharges your batteries, and can even help burn those extra calories from the pina colada you had the night before!

I tried running a few miles on the beach barefoot to keep my running shoes sand-free on my last vacation. While my shoes stayed clean, I suffered from a killer case of shin splints

I learned that it’s much easier to care for sandy shoes than tend to shin splints!

4 Ways to Prevent Sand Entering Your Shoes

The best way to fight off the sand is to prepare for the beach. By selecting the correct style of running shoes, as well as the perfect spot on the beach, you can protect yourself from an uncomfortable sandy run. 

Here are some tips to ensure that the sand stays on the beach where it belongs. 

1. Running Shoes Matter

Opt for a running shoe with a closed mesh upper rather than an open mesh upper. Open mesh running shoes may help to keep your feet cool when running on a humid beach, but all of those holes are an open invitation for sand. 

The closed mesh may make your feet hotter, but it will create a sand barrier between your feet and the beach. 

2. Pick the Right Kind of Sand

Try and stick as close to the water as your can. Wet sand is not only easier to run on, but it eliminates the instance of kicking sand up into your running shoes. 

3. Consider Your Socks

The right running shoe will help sand stay out of your shoes, but you also need to consider your socks. Be sure to reach for longer socks that extend over your ankle bone that provide a tight and secure fit. 

4. Stick To Low Tide

Low tide offers a better overall sandy surface when compared to high tide. High tide doesn’t provide ideal running sand, and in some cases, high tide eliminates the beach! 

Low tide offers that perfect wet sand that is tightly packed yet springy and dramatically reduces the risk of sand entering your shoes. 

 Easy Tips to Preserve Your Running Shoes

So, you did all of the right things, but you are still left with sand in your shoes. It happens. Taking the time to care for your shoes after your run will help extend your shoes’ life and leave the sand at the beach. 

Below I have compiled a few easy tips to keep your shoes running like new. 

1. Remove the Insole. If you still have a few days left at the beach, be sure that you remove your insole after every run. Sand loves to hide in that space between the midsole and insole, so removing the insole is essential. 

Knock off excess sand, and leave the insole in a well-ventilated area to dry completely. 

2. Leave Your Trainers Outside. Leaving your shoes outside in the sun to air dry makes it a lot easier to knock them against a wall to remove excess sand. 

They won’t be squeaky clean, but they will be clean enough for another trip out to the shoreline. 

3. Bust Out The Hose. When the sand builds up enough that no amount of shaking will loosen those grains of sand, it’s time to bust out of the hose. I like to use a hose rather than toss them into the washing machine because not all running shoes are built to survive the trip. 

If your shoes have a thinner mesh upper, a journey into the washing machine may permanently warp your upper. 

Instead of popping them into the washing machine, spraying them down with a hose will work just as well. If you don’t have a hose, dunk your trainers in a tub of cool water, dump the contents of the shoe, and repeat. 

Be sure to leave them to sit in a well-ventilated area to dry completely. If you try and run in sneakers that aren’t completely dry, you run the risk of blisters and uncomfortable chafing on your next run!


Sand happens, but you don’t have to let it ruin your run. With a bit of preventive care (like selecting the right pair of shoes and a good stretch of wet sand), you can significantly reduce the amount of sand that infiltrates your running shoes. 

A little bit of sand and salt isn’t enough to ruin your favorite running shoes, as long as you make sure to take proper care of them after your run. Always remove the insole, and knock your shoes against a wall to remove excess sand. 

When needed, don’t be afraid to bust out the hose for a proper cleaning!

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