You may have heard that sneakers are rather in fashion these days. One thing’s for sure: from the resident hopeless sneaker addict to that dude still high on the smell of his first pair of Air Max, we’re all looking to keep our prized kicks in tip-top shape.
But hold off the washing machine! When it comes to superior sneaker care, nobody knows better than a sneaker aficionado himself. We checked in with Wilfred Mong (featured above), an uber passionate sneaker fiend with hundreds of pairs to his name, for his top care tips.
1. Spray shoe protector before your first wear
Lay a towel down and spray your fresh-out-the-box babies with stain and water repellent. It’s worth it; this will keep them waterproof and repel all sorts of grime, rain and dirt. Especially important for white sneakers. My personal favourite is the Jason Markk Repel Spray which you can get here; it’s great on all materials and easy to apply. I like to spray two coatings and reapply when needed.
Repel generally lasts for around 1-2 months depending on how often your shoe is exposed to the elements. The best way to test the effectiveness of the repel? Use a few drops of water to observe how well the beads roll off of the shoe.
2. Wipe gently with a damp cloth
Apply a damp cloth over your sneakers to dissolve any dirt or mud clinging to them, then carefully rub away remaining marks. Use whatever cleaning motion works best for you to get rid of the grime. For canvas surfaces, try a ‘press and twist’ motion to lift the dirt.
3. Spot clean stubborn stains
For difficult-to-remove stains, apply some mild sneaker shampoo and brush lightly using a soft toothbrush. Wipe with your damp towel. Rinse and repeat until the stain is gone. (You can also use the toothbrush to scrape debris from the outsole.)
4. Allow your sneakers to dry fully
After cleaning your shoes, sit them in a warm spot to air dry. This may take up to several days depending on how wet they are. A hack for quicker dry time if you’re short on time: insert some crumpled-up paper towels. This will absorb part of the excess moisture.
5. Re-stuff your sneakers after each wear
Everyone knows – and hates – the toe crease that forms in sneakers after a day of walking. The best way to eliminate these indents? Re-stuff your shoes before putting them away. If you’ve long lost the original stuffing, scrunched-up newspapers are a great replacement.
6. Alternate your sneakers
Do your very best not to wear the same pair of sneakers two days in a row. This allows them to rest and completely dry in between each use, lengthening their lifespan.
7. Never, ever use a washing machine
Same goes for using a dryer. This can seriously damage the leather or canvas and cause the stitching to come loose.
Article and photography contributed by Wilfred Mong.