Keeping Your Shoes Clean



On December 7th, Washington Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas stormed out onto the court sporting a pair of Dolce & Gabbana High Top sneakers. The display of excellent taste got me thinking about shoe fashion.

I’ve had a lot of footwear in my time. Sitting next to my leather shoes at the front door are my pair of New Balance sneakers. They look terrible now, but they were great in their heyday. They got me everywhere: I even took them with me on my trip to Beijing, where they stood with me on the Great Wall of China.

But I didn’t take good care of them. The mesh got muddied and the canvas got stained. They’re more brown than white now, a shadow of their former selves.

It’s a hard truth: using your shoes makes them used. Most sports footwear is made of material that breathes, like nylon, leather or mesh, and playing hard in that stuff scuffs them, and dirties them up. It can really ruin your look.

Don’t let that happen to your basketball shoes, guys. Follow these tips.

1. Mud


If you’re Lebron James, you might be sporting a pair of his endorsed Nike Air Max LeBron VIIIs, and it would be an absolute shame to get those beauties muddied during a rainy game.

According to, mud can lead to “>”improper traction and friction while playing on the court”, not to mention hurting their appearance.

Any gloppy and still-wet mud can be removed with a dry cloth or brush. Dampen a cloth and get what’s left. Leave your shoes to dry, so the shoes aren’t ruined by dampness.

Don’t leave mud overnight to dry onto your shoes. I’ve done that a lot with my poor New Balances, and now there’s no way to get those stains out.

2. Stains


If you’re Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, you might be tearing up the court in these green Nike Zoom Hyperfuse sneakers.


Light colours like green and light-blue are especially susceptible to stains. If you spilled spaghetti sauce on those nice new shoes, you might start raising hell, but luckily there’re a few ways you can deal with the crisis.

Soak the shoes (sans laces and inserts) in a bucket of warm water mixed with a mild laundry detergent, then scrub the stains with an ordinary toothbrush. That should lift most new stains.

Make sure afterward to rinse the soapy water off the shoes, and then stuff the inside of the shoes with scrunched-up paper towel, so the shoes stay the same shape as they dry.

An ordinary stain remover can also often be enough to remove small stains. And next time, make sure not to drink your coffee so close to your shoes.

3. Cleaning White Shoes
If you’re wearing James’s Nike Airs or Rondo’s Zoom Hyperfuses, you might not have the same worries as the rest of us with our lily-white stunners. They’re white as snow and when they catch the sun right they can blind that pesky front guard heading your way, but they’re hell on your cleaning bill.

Nylon or canvas stands up well to cleaning, so get out the soap, the cloth and the toothbrush again. If you catch the dirt or the stain early, you can get your shoes looking great again.

Leather is, as always, another story. Soaking the shoe in soapy water and applying the toothbrush can work wonders. If you want to go the extra step, Toronto Shoe Repair recommends a multi-function shoe cleaner and specialized suede brushes.

Other suggestions are common household cleaning products such as baby wipes, Clorox Bleach Pens and Magic Erasers.

Stay Clean, Stay Sharp!


You want to look good on that court today. With a little effort and a few common cleaning products, you can storm up towards the net at your very best, inside and out!


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