Sneaker fiends know it’s not enough to simply buy the coolest kicks on the market. Once you’ve got them, you have to know how to clean sneakers, or your whole collection will soon look as washed up as a bunch of over-Botoxed housewives on a reality show. The designer sneaker uprising is in full swing, so it’s about time you learned to care for your kicks like a man who gives a damn.
Whether you’re looking to maintain a new set of sneakers or freshen up a well-loved pair, following these tips for keeping your shoes looking (and smelling) fresh.
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The Lowdown: How To Clean Sneakers
Tools Of The Sneaker Trade
The good news is that sneaker care doesn’t have to cost a lot. You can spring for designer gear if that’s your thing, but you can keep your kicks in tip-top shape on a budget if need be. The first rule is rotation. The more often you wear your favourite pair, the faster they will deteriorate. Switch things up and let your sneakers air in between outings to lengthen their lifetime. After that, these are the most important tools of the sneaker care trade:
Use a cloth to spot clean any scuffs and splashes that appear. The sooner the better, so if you’re particularly anal about your footwear you should keep a cloth with you at all times. Any clean cloth should do, but disposable shoe-specific cleaning wipes are available if you want an easy on-the-go solution. If you can, stick to a white cloth. Will ensure no colour accidentally comes off onto the shoe.
The brush is an obvious must in any shoe care kit. Pay special attention to the bristle. Sometimes you want something stiffer; sometimes you’ll need something softer to avoid causing damage. Make sure you have options available so you’re ready for any eventuality. A toothbrush will do if you’re looking for a wallet-friendly way to keep your sneakers clean. These can be purchased at any supermarket.
Like those over-Botoxed housewives, you want to minimise the appearance of wrinkles. Lace maintenance can be as simple as an occasional ironing. They can also be soaked in warm water and a shoe cleaner. Bleach is an option too, but go easy on it as it weakens the fibres. If this is too had, just purchase a few extra pairs of laces when you buy the shoes.
Pick up a dedicated shoe cleaner that’s designed for high-end footwear. The right one will be formulated to keep the integrity of luxurious fabrics intact while still packing the cleaning power necessary. Use the solution along with warm water and a wet brush. We recommend Mr.Black Shoe Cleaner.
Like it or not, your feet are going to get funky at some point. Go on the offensive with a deodoriser or fragrance spray (applied to the insoles after they’re removed from the shoes). Other options are moisture-wicking socks and dryer sheets left in your sneakers overnight. This is especially handy in summer when shoes get extra funky some sweat and sun. Again, Mr Black makes a good one or jump on eBay for home made solutions.
If your shoes are leather or suede, treat them with a protector designed specifically for the purpose. Leave the treatment on overnight and your sneakers will be protected from months. Just be sure that you use something designed specifically for shoes, rather than heavier products that might end up doing more harm than good when applied to your kicks. Suede protector can be picked up in most supermarkets or shoe makers.
The Washing Machine
When all else fails, the washing machine is your last resort. It’s a bit of a crapshoot, but the safest way to bathe your sneaks in the washing machine is to remove the laces and foot beds, then place everything separately into two pillowcases. Tie the pillowcases closed and place them both in the washing machine on the delicate cycle. There’s no guarantees here so only use as a last resort.
If all else fails, you can simply take your sneakers into the local shoe makers for a shoe rejuvenation. However, at $30 a pair you’ll only want to do this occasionally.