Sneaker addicts, here’s how to clean shoes and keep them looking new.
Sneaker culture originated in the ’80s when Michael Jordan signed a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike and a hip-hop group named Run DMC dropped a song called “My Adidas.” These two moments undoubtedly linked fashion and hip-hop culture in a galvanizing way that changed music and the power of social engineering forever.
Fast-forward to today, and sneaker culture has evolved into its own entity, transcending even hip-hop. It’s more than standing in long lines for the latest releases, flipping shoes for money or trying to stay up with the latest trends. Shoes are now shown in art galleries and museums while numerous books have been written on the cultural impact and political power of kicks.
Wearing a clean pair of shoes is a crucial part of sneaker culture and something every sneakerhead takes great pride in.
Whether you’re a newbie trying to stand out from the crowd or a grizzled veteran with stacks upon stacks of shoe boxes stashed away in your closet, everyone shares a love for a new pair of shoes. Despite this common bond, many have no clue how to clean shoes after their kicks have weathered a number of miles.
Want to know how to clean shoes to make them last? Here are seven tips from sneakerheads.
1. Toothbrush and Toothpaste
An old toothbrush and some toothpaste can go a long way, especially with a pair of all-white tennis shoes. Take the toothbrush and scrub the soles in small circles, applying firm pressure on the stains and scuffs. Once done, just wipe it off with a warm rag or towel and it should look like new. You can also use the toothbrush to get in between those nitty-gritty spots where dirt seems to grow and permeate.
2. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
These erasers are an essential tool in every sneakerhead’s toolbox and a godsend to those who detest scuff marks on their kicks. With this eraser on hand, you no longer have to worry about those horrifying moments when someone accidentally steps on your shoes. Scrub the marks with loving care and watch those scuffs dissolve into clean nothingness.
3. Warm Water and Bleach
This combo may seem like something your grandma would recommend, but it works effectively on stains as well as shoelaces. Many times grime and dirt tend to work their way into our laces, leading to discoloration and a lack of vibrancy. If you want to bring your shoelaces back to their glory days, just soak them in warm water and a bit of bleach. Leave them in there for about 20 minutes and play some of your favorite jams in the meantime. The good vibrations just might help your laces breathe.
4. Nail Polish Remover
Some people may groan at the idea of applying nail polish remover to their valued kicks, but if you want to know how to clean your shoes, check this out. Apply the liquid to any weird colors or deep stains you find. Coat it in a thick layer, let it soak into the material, and watch this rare hack give life support to your shoes and bring back that vivid color you’ve been itching for.
5. Water Repellent
Just like the meteorologist on TV, we can never predict when rain will start pouring just after we’ve left the house. We might have an umbrella ready for such an occasion, but this doesn’t protect our shoes from the inevitable puddles. There’s a variety of water repellents for those of us who prefer not to put that extra elbow grease into maintaining our shoes’ vitality. It’s a simple method: just shake the bottle, spray a coat onto the outside of your shoes, and you’re ready to go. This is an easy, affordable way to keep your shoes clean and feel good about it.
6. Fabric Protectors
Going into the jungle without a guide or a weapon can be foolhardy and dangerous. The same goes for braving the elements and having no idea how to clean shoes afterward. Fabric protectors are the secret vest of armor that sneaker addicts wear on their feet everywhere they go. It’s hard to notice the protection is even there because it blends into the shoe’s fabric so well without changing the original flavor of the material.
7. Shoe Cleaner Kits
If you’re searching for a way to reach the avid shoes buyer’s equivalent of heaven, don’t look inside a shoe store. Search deeper and you’ll find a variety of shoe cleaner kits. They usually come with a brush, a chemical spray and some sort of protection you can apply afterward. Many of these do-it-all kits come with easy-to-read instructions and can bring your shoes back to that magic state of perfection you experienced when you first laid eyes on them.