If like me, you’re a serious student of running, you do more than put your shoes on, keep a running diary and strive for PBs at runs. I did my homework years ago and became convinced of the merits of the internationally-recognised Under Armour brand. In the interest of transparency, I must admit that UA has always been my go-to shoe.

But I’ll be honest. Since mesh shoes began showing up on the running shoe scene, I worried about the amount of time I would have to devote to getting soil out of those little spaces within the weave—spaces designed to keep sweaty feet like mine from going into overdrive, especially during my long runs.

I remained in a quandary, putting off my decision to acquire a pair of UA Threadborne Fortis 3 shoes because I feared to add yet another task to my crazy schedule. Would I have to take time from my job, boyfriend, and friends to keep these shoes from looking perpetually grimy?

I had to see these shoes in person and I’ll admit that I was seduced by a pair of size 7.5 Black/Bayou Blue Fortis 3s. Gorgeous, I thought. Maybe I’ll try them on. They looked and felt awesome, but I expressed my cleaning fear and was offered tips for cleaning them. Was this serendipity? Of course. So in addition to my thoughts on these shoes, I’ll also pass along this clever cleaning strategy.

About UA Threadborne Fortis 3

Lots of shoe manufacturers refer to their shoe’s features and benefits by those terms, but at UA, the rank and file call these attributes Product DNA. I love the science field, so any reference to the basics of life’s building blocks got my attention early on. Here are some insights I’d like to share about this shoe’s composition:

  • The surface is composed of an embroidered upper that wraps the Fortis 3 base in a breathable, supportive and structurally-superior skin.
  • The internal ankle bootie improves the already-snug fit, making these runners so comfy, I could tell the difference (even from my old UA running shoes) the moment I walked around in them.
  • I love the fact that the midsole features UA’s signature compression-molded foam. It’s been proven to generate a higher degree of responsiveness when runners like me adjust our pace on the fly.
  • The comfort and personalised fit in the sock liner area impress me because that’s where invaluable energy return originates.
  • Am I threatened by daunting terrain? That’s my favorite. Cleaning shoes scares me more. The Fortis 3 outsole pattern is engineered to tease the road beneath my feet, daring the surface to resist this shoe’s tenacious grip.
  • If you don’t agree with me that this shoe’s qualities describe the nature of DNA, you need to return to biology class for a refresher!

Will the sexy weave turn me into a cleaning slave?

I understand your concern. Like me, you love the rugged look of a woven shoe but you also know that the more textured the weave, the more likely your shoes could act like debris magnets. In fact, these shoes behave like my nephews: Turn them loose at a playground and you can be sure they’ll return to me covered in dirt.

Fortunately, I found out a secret recipe and it proved to be so fast and easy. Especially, the ventilation system that’s the hallmark of mesh: my feet would feel cool while interior odor reduction properties do their thing.

How to clean your UA Threadborne Fortis 3 shoes:

  1. Mix about 3 cups of warm water with a teaspoon of mild dish soap.
  2. Scrub the shoes with a soft-bristle toothbrush to reach into crevices.
  3. Rinse the brush in cool water and re-scrub areas with stubborn soil and mud.

Because I chose Bayou Blue, I have not incurred stains thus far, but if I do, I’m going to follow the second tip she gave me: After undertaking those 3 steps, I’ll spray them with a little white vinegar and allow the vinegar to sit for up to an hour. If my shoes were light-coloured, I’d put them out in the sun for that hour. Finish the job with a cool-water rinse and voila! They’re lookin’ good.

Runner’s Boon

  • Even my kids call me a fashionista and these shoes look stunning on my feet.
  • They’re comfortable, responsive and true-to-size, so no returns for me!
  • My husband noted that when I leave my shoes lying around, at least they don’t smell bad.
  • Once again, UA proves it’s a force of nature pairing style and performance.
  • Did I mention how easy these shoes are to clean now that I know that secret method?

Runner’s Bane

  • Not everyone finds these shoes easy to clean. Maybe they should adopt my method.
  • The Fortis 3 is not inexpensive if your family, like mine, is on a tight budget.
  • Some runners call this a great casual shoe but don’t agree that it’s jogger-worthy.
  • New to the market, finding a pair in your size could be a hassle.
  • The colour selection may not coordinate with your running outfits.

Have you been bitten by the mesh bug or are you waiting to see if this proves to be a fad rather than a trend before you invest in a pair?

Ooi Sin Yao

As a lifesaver, Sin Yao loves keeping fit and constantly aims to improve on her stamina for running. As she writes for RunSociety, she loves sharing her experience with others as it is meaningful and enriching!

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