Nothing resembles a fresh pair of shoes right? The only problem is that the new shoeshine can only be tarnished with wear, especially if your kicks are white. After a few runs or walks to the gym or, as the sky permits, unexpected rain, everything is as good as over.
But for me, sneakers are an investment that needs to be considered. This does not just apply to running shoes or the pair you only wear to fitness classes . I'm talking about sneakers that you have in your rotation, whether you wear them with jeans or leggings. That's why I'm excited to share with you some effective ways to make your new sneakers look new without compromising the material or functionality.
To get an overview of sneakers cleaning, we turned to Victor Ornelas, Director of Brand Management of Fleet Feet . Since his work with the shoes he sells is a lot of hands-on experience, he seemed the perfect expert to tell us how to make our kicks look good.
The techniques for cleaning sneakers are not so different from the fabric According to Ornelas, there are some specific methods that work better depending on the material.
First an important note: You should avoid putting your sneakers in the washing machine.
Inserting sneakers into the washing machine is likely to affect the structure and integrity of the foam, which may adversely affect the shoe's ability to provide even cushioning or a responsive feel, says Ornelas. This is a problem especially for running shoes.
Some foams are more sensitive than others to water and high temperatures, he says. (Most shoe brands list the materials that make up the midsoles in the product description on their website.) In general, any shoe made from EVA, a rubbery plastic made from a soft and flexible foam, should always be washed by hand. The material tends to absorb water, which may affect the sneaker's cushioning. Foams made of TPU, a rubbery plastic that is known to be more durable, works better in the machine and should not absorb water, but point cleaning is always the safest way to clean sneakers. Ornelas extends the life of your sneakers.
If you need to wash your shoes, say, an unfortunate run in muddy terrain makes it the only way you can save them – avoid agitators, he adds. "Agitators can be a bit rough and if they spin your shoes too much, it can affect the overall shape of the shoe," he says. Washing machines without stirrer are gentler and leave more room for the freedom of movement of the shoes.
Ornelas recommends wiping as much mud as possible before putting sneaks in the washer. Also wash the laces separately from the shoes. You can put them in a pillow case or a laundry bag to prevent tangling, he adds. Use a little mild detergent, put a few towels with the shoes in the machine and set the washing machine on the delicate cycle (which should mean always cold water and a gentle spin). When the cycle is complete, let the shoes dry in the air, he says. Never put them in the dryer. The high temperatures lead to the degradation of most materials.
Here's how to figure out the different materials that make up most sneakers. (By the way: many sneakers are made of more than one material, so you may need to use different methods to clean the same sneaker.)
"Nylon mesh is great for runners because it's a breathable material. However, the net traps all the dirt and dust that you stir up during training, "says Ornelas. He suggests using a dry brush to remove excess dirt and then mix some baking soda with a portion of vinegar and leave to stand on the dirty spot for about 15 minutes. Gently rub for a minute or two, then wipe with a soft, damp cloth. Let the shoe dry in the air.
A brush is the simplest and most effective way to generally clean running shoes, says Ornelas. "The bristles are gentle enough to maintain the integrity of the fabric, but sturdy enough to scrape off any sticky dirt," he says. There are brushes specially made for cleaning sneakers. They are made from a variety of materials such as wild boar hair, horsehair and synthetic blends, says Ornelas. Or just use an old toothbrush or buy a small vegetable brush from Amazon . If your shoe is rather soft, choose soft bristles (like a vegetable brush). If your shoe is stiffer, use a brush that can apply more pressure (such as a synthetic blend or boar) to hair)
2. Imitation Leather
Soak a rag in warm water and a mild detergent and wipe the dirty areas, says Ornelas. Then gently clean the area with a brush for one or two minutes. Wipe off with a soft, damp cloth to remove the remaining cleaning agent and allow to air dry. "You'll notice that the stains lift slightly, because stains can not be soaked in synthetic leather like nylon nets," says Ornelas.
If your shoes are white, you can even use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser – a cleaning pad of melamine foam – on hard parts of the shoe, he adds. "The product is gentle and effective to remove stains. All you have to do is moisten the pad and wipe the dirty areas of the shoe, "he says. To be on the safe side, use this product only for white shoes to avoid rubbing off paint.
. 3 Knit
Be as gentle as possible with knit shoes, says Ornelas. "Knitwear is soft and pliable, which makes it more delicate than the other fabrics," he explains. Avoid brushing, which can be a bit too rough for knitting. "For knitted running shoes we recommend a soft cloth. It takes a little more muscle to remove stains, but it's just as effective, "he says.
Be wary of detergents, says Ornelas, as the chemicals on the fabric are sometimes too hard. "Use a piece of mild bath soap instead. Soak a cloth in cold water and gently rub the soap off, "he says. When the stains have come off, wipe off the remaining soap with a damp cloth and let the air dry.
. 4 Canvas
Canvas sneakers are durable, but they easily get dirty, says Ornelas. To clean these shoes, he proposes a toothbrush and a cleaning paste, which consists of equal parts of baking soda and warm water. Dip the toothbrush into the mixture and scrub the canvas until it is clean. Allow the shoes to dry while the mixture is still on, and wipe off any hardened baking soda with a damp cloth.
"While it's always better to wash your sneakers by hand to preserve the integrity of the shoe, the canvas is more durable than many other fabrics and withstands a gentle flow of the washing machine," he adds. Make sure you run the unit in a tricky cycle and use only cold water and some mild detergent. When the cycle is complete, allow the shoes to air dry.
And do not forget that the insides sometimes have to be cleaned.
Ornelas recommends warm water and a mild detergent to clean the insides of sneakers. Soak a brush in the solution and scrub until it is clean. Then wipe gently with a damp cloth and let the shoe dry in the air.
If the insides of your sneakers get wet after an intense workout or run in the rain, remove the pads and stuff your shoes with paper towels to absorb excess moisture before the cleansing process begins. "If the inside of the shoe is too wet, it will take longer to dry and may cause mold odor or bacteria," he explains. Not exactly what you want, if you want to wear it for a long time.