Expert Advice

How to Clean Sneakers

How to Clean Sneakers

Jun 24, 2020

Those shoes are made for wearing. You’ve spent hours, days, maybe even months trying to cop a new pair of kicks. But how do you keep them looking brand-spanking new even after you’ve worn them?

Hibbett | City Gear spills the tea on how to clean sneakers so they stay super fresh for years to come. Here’s a rundown on how to clean sneakers at home:

Brush It Off

Got dried dirt in the outsole grooves and stuck to the midsole? Brush it off! A soft-bristled shoe brush or a toothbrush allows you to gently loosen any dirt or debris.

Dress Down

Take out the shoelaces and any other removable pieces on the outside of the sneaker, like lace locks. If you have a midfoot strap, unhook it so you can clean both sides.

Materials Matter

Those LeBrons have a Knitposite fabric. Your running shoes might feature Flyknit uppers. Your go-anywhere casual kicks have mesh cutouts on the sides.

While stretchy, foot-hugging fabrics are great for athletes and athleisure lovers, they’re also a catchall for dirt and debris. The type of material your shoes will determine how you clean them and with what.

In most instances, a soft rag and a mild solution or a quick wipe is all you’ll need, particularly for softer, more delicate fabrics like knits; for others like synthetic leather or canvas, the dry brush will work.

Follow these directions for cleaning leather boots.

Create a Solution

While there are dozens of shoe cleaners available for purchase at Hibbett | City Gear, if you would like to make your own, the steps are simple.

  • Warm water mixed with a little mild laundry detergent works great on synthetic leather, most knits and the shoe’s sockliner.
  • For tougher mesh uppers, one part baking soda to one part vinegar can lift away dirt.
  • A solution of equal parts baking soda and water applied with a toothbrush is an effective way to keep those canvas shoes in tip-top shape.

Get Cleaning

Take your soft rag and dip it in your cleaning solution, then gently blot any fabric uppers. Applying light pressure is always better. Once stains have lifted, wipe them away, blot with a dry towel and let air dry.

Wash laces by either soaking them in the mild detergent or by placing them in a closed pillow case and putting them in the washing machine on a delicate cycle. Hang laces to dry.

Remove your insoles and clean as you would the outside of your shoe. Let them dry completely before replacing them.

Air Dry

It’s tempting to want to speed up the drying process by popping those kicks in the dryer. But resist the urge! The extreme heat and extremely annoying clanging can take its toll on materials, quickly breaking them down.

Hang-dry your insoles and shoelaces, and stuff the insides of your sneakers with newspaper and maybe a few silica gel packets to help soak up moisture more quickly. Remove once dry to avoid completely drying out the shoe’s materials.

Keep all pieces and parts of your sneakers away from direct sunlight as they dry. Sun can damage colors and fabrics.

Want to add a little polish, some waterproofing and maybe a little odor control? At Hibbett | City Gear, we have all the must-have shoe care accessories — from material-specific cleaners to new laces — you need to keep those dunks looking dope.

More of a visual learner? Youtuber DevanOnDeck has a great, easy to follow tutorial video!

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