5 Ways You’re Ruining Your Shoes (And How To Fix Them)

Getting lazy with your shoe care and maintenance can really affect the look and longevity of your shoe collection. But, the fixes are easy and affordable. Just like we talked about in our closet essentials video, having the right care and organizational items are important for keeping your sneakers, dress shoes, and boots all in great shape and looking sharp.

Here are 5 ways you’re ruining your shoes and how to fix them!

 

1. Not maintaining the overall structure

You don’t want to allow the creases to set in as you store your shoes, it ruins the look and fit over time.

The Fix: Get some shoe trees. This simple accessory is critical for the life and overall look of your shoes. Plastic will work but we recommend cedar ones for durability and odor control.

Picks:

Cedar Shoe Trees

Plastic Shoe Trees

 

2. Not taking care of the leather

Unconditioned leather gets brittle, cracked and loses it’s longevity over time if not properly taken care of on a regular basis. This goes for all of your dress shoes, and doubly so for your boots since you might be wearing them in inclement weather.

The Fix: Get a proper shoe care kit and condition your shoes 1 to 2 times per year, more depending on where you live and what kind of weather you deal with.

Picks:

Conditioning Kit

Polish Kit

Deluxe Set With Valet

 

3. Not cleaning your sneakers

Dirty shoes don’t go unnoticed so even your sneakers need a little TLC every once in a while.

The Fix: Bare minimum, take a damp cloth and wipe your sneaks down once a week. About once a month, give then a proper cleaning with a sneaker cleaning kit. We recommend the great sneaker-specific cleaning kits and wipes below to keep your white sneakers looking fresh and clean. Also, a Magic Eraser will do wonders to your white leather sneakers.

Picks:

Sneaker Cleaning Kit

Sneaker Wipes

Magic Eraser

 

4. Ruining the backs of your shoes

When you’re stomping or stuffing your feet into your shoes will result in smashing the backs of your shoes. Over time this can cause irreversible damage to the structure and leather.

The Fix: Get a shoehorn. It will make your life easier and prevent this kind of damage. Pro tip: The longer the better so you don’t have to bend as much. Trust me, you’ll appreciate this.

Picks:

Plastic Shoe Horn (from the video)

Wood Shoe Horn

 

5. Allowing your shoes to get stinky

Do we really need to explain why stinky shoes are a problem? We hope not.

The Fix: Cedar blocks or balls, or, even better, cedar shoe trees all can help control odors and absorb moisture which can ruin the interior lining of your shoes.

Picks:

Cedar Blocks

Cedar Balls

Cedar Shoe Trees

 

How To Clean Dirty Sneakers Tutorial

I’ve been getting a lot of emails and requests to do a video and article about how to clean your dirty sneakers so here it is. This method is for your canvas, leather, and knit/woven sneakers (like your Ultraboosts or Flyknits).

Tools Needed

Shoe Cleaning Tutorial Items Ashley WEston

$8 – Oral-B Toothbrush – Medium (2 ct.)
$6 – Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads (8 ct.)
$10 – Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaning Brush – you’ll need this softer hog bristle brush if you’re cleaning premium leather or knit/woven surfaces (ex. Flyknits or Ultraboosts)
$7 – Sinland Microfiber Cleaning Cloth (6 ct.)
$16 – Jason Markk Essential Shoe Cleaning Kit (includes cleaning liquid and standard brush) – I personally love using JM’s cleaning solution and brush. I find it work’s perfectl and all his ingredients are specifically targeted to gently remove dirt from sneakers.
$9 – Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Liquid (2 ct.)
Instead of the cleaning liquid, you can use dish soap. Make sure its all-natural, which means it’s free from any dyes, fragrances and toxins so it won’t cause any possible yellowing.

Cleaning Just The Midsoles

If it’s just the midsoles that need to be cleaned:

  1. Dip a Magic Eraser sponge in water and then start rubbing the midsoles.

  2. For stubborn or textured areas where the dirt won’t budget – use a toothbrush and some Jason Markk cleaning solution or all-natural dish soap and scrub the area. The toothbrush’s tiny bristles should be able to remove most, if not all, of the dirt stuck in the porous areas.

  3. Wipe them down with the microfiber towel.

Cleaning the whole sneaker

1. Gather Supplies

You’re going to need a brush and some cleaning solution. If you’re cleaning premium leather or knit/mesh sneakers, then make sure to use a softer brush, usually made from hog bristles, like Jason Markk’s Premium Shoe Cleaning Brush. It’s important to be gentler on these delicate materials so they don’t get ruined.

2. Wipe Them Down

Give your sneakers a wipe down with a cotton or microfiber towel to remove any loose dirt on the surface. Paper towels also work, but they’re wasteful – hopefully you agree :).

3. Remove & Clean Laces

Remove the shoelaces if they’re dirty and/or the tongue needs to be cleaned. Be sure to wash your white shoelaces with a load of your whites (if you use bleach or not) on the hottest water setting and let them air dry.  For colored laces, you can add them to your colors while washing, preferably in cold water.

4. Scrub The Sneaks (duh)

Dip your brush in water, squirt some cleaning liquid on it, dip back in the water again, and then shake off any excess water. Start scrubbing the sneaker all over – midsole, upper and tongue (if necessary). You really want to work up a lather. You can always use a toothbrush for those hard to reach areas like on the tongue in the video above.

5. Wipe Them Down

Using your cotton or microfiber towel, wipe your sneaker to remove the foam/dirt. If you’re cleaning your Flyknits or Ultraboosts, you’ll want to use a dab and twist motion on the woven/knitted surface to soak up any moisture like I highlighted in the video above. That’ll ensure you don’t fray the material.

6. Let Them Dry

Now let the shoes air dry for a few hours, re-lace them and you’re good to go!