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Sneaker Care 101: Keeping Your Kicks Fresh

Updated: Apr 7


Sneakers aren't just shoes; they're a statement, a reflection of your style and personality. Whether you're rocking Jordans, Yeezys, Nike Dunks, or New Balance, keeping your kicks clean and well-maintained is essential to preserving their freshness and longevity. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to properly clean and care for your prized sneakers, ensuring they look their best for years to come.


1. Know Your Materials:

Before diving into the cleaning process, it's crucial to understand the materials your sneakers are made of. Different materials require different cleaning techniques to avoid damage. Common sneaker materials include leather, suede, mesh, canvas, and knit. Familiarize yourself with the specific care instructions for each material to prevent any mishaps during cleaning.


2. Gather Your Supplies:

Having the right cleaning supplies on hand is key to achieving optimal results. Here's what you'll need:

  • Soft-bristled brush

  • Mild detergent or sneaker cleaner

  • Water

  • Toothbrush (for detailing)

  • Microfiber cloth

  • Sneaker protector spray (optional)

  • Shoe tree or crumpled paper (to help maintain shape during cleaning)


3. Pre-Cleaning Preparation:

Start by removing the laces from your sneakers. This will allow you to clean them separately and access hard-to-reach areas more effectively. If your sneakers have removable insoles, take them out as well. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove any loose dirt or debris from the surface of the shoes.


4. Cleaning Process:

  • For Leather and Synthetic Uppers:

    • Mix a small amount of mild detergent with water to create a cleaning solution.

    • Dip the soft-bristled brush into the solution and gently scrub the upper in a circular motion.

    • Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe away any excess dirt or soap residue.

    • For tough stains, you can use a toothbrush dipped in the cleaning solution for more targeted cleaning.

    • Once clean, allow the sneakers to air dry naturally, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

  • For Suede and Nubuck Uppers:

    • Use a suede brush or suede eraser to gently remove surface stains and restore the nap of the material.

    • Avoid getting suede or nubuck too wet, as excessive moisture can cause damage or color bleeding. Use a damp cloth sparingly for spot cleaning.

    • After cleaning, use a suede protector spray to add a layer of water and stain resistance.

  • For Mesh and Knit Uppers:

    • Remove the laces and gently scrub the mesh or knit upper with a soft-bristled brush dipped in a mild detergent solution.

    • Rinse thoroughly with water to remove any soap residue.

    • Stuff the sneakers with crumpled paper or a shoe tree to help them maintain their shape while drying.



5. Laces and Insoles:

  • Clean the laces by soaking them in a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. You can also use a small amount of bleach for white laces, but be cautious not to use too much, as it can cause damage.

  • For insoles, gently scrub them with a brush and mild detergent, then rinse thoroughly and allow them to air dry completely before reinserting them into the sneakers.


6. Finishing Touches:

  • Once your sneakers are clean and dry, re-lace them and give them a final inspection.

  • If desired, apply a sneaker protector spray to add an extra layer of defense against dirt, stains, and water.


With proper care and maintenance, your favorite sneakers can stay looking fresh and new for years to come. By following these simple steps and investing a little time and effort into cleaning and protecting your kicks, you'll be able to showcase your style with confidence, whether you're rocking Jordans, Yeezys, Nike Dunks, or New Balance. So go ahead, step out in style and keep those kicks looking fly!

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