I get that some shoes look better beat up and all but beat up and clean aren’t mutually exclusive. I’ve got two issues with people walking around in a nasty cooked pair of kicks.

  1. Sneakers are expensive so get your money’s worth. Most of the time the people who are always complaining about sneakers being too expensive are the people with the nastiest shoes, if they’re so expensive make them last forever and you’ll end up saving money in the long run.

  2. Your feet smell, if they don’t smell they will so just get out ahead of it, no one wants smelly feet, come on. If you aren’t wearing socks with your shoes either you are a monster, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

“But I don’t know how to clean my shoes, what if I ruin them?” Well here I come to save the day and teach you a thing or to about keeping your kicks clean. It only takes max 5 minutes once a month to keep your shoes clean so please I beg of you just take the time. It’ll probably take you longer to read this than it will to actually clean your damn shoes.

First step is knowing what material your shoes are made of, that’s really the biggest thing and it’s so easy to find out. I’m going to breakdown how to clean different types of materials and what types of products to use.

What you’ll need

You’re going to need three things if you plan on cleaning your shoes, and one bonus item if you really care about your sneakers. First thing you’ll need is a brush, you can get a brush from anywhere (most starter packs sold by sneaker cleaner companies come with a brush or two) honestly a tooth brush works too if you have a clean unused one sitting around. Certain materials benefit from soft or harder bristles but I’ll get to that while going through materials. Second thing you need is cleaning solution, personally I prefer the brands “Crep Protect” or “Jason Markk” but if you have a toned down colour of body wash sitting around it works pretty well too just make sure it’s not too bright of a colour or test it on a hidden section of your sneakers to look for discolouration but typically this isn’t an issue. Finally you’ll need a towel to wipe your shoes down after. If you really care about your sneakers I recommend a water proofing spray from the aforementioned sneaker cleaner companies, it helps your shoes stay cleaner longer.

Now into materials. For the most part the steps are pretty straight forward and consistent for all materials. Use towel to wipe off any excess nastiness off your shoes, mix warm water and cleaning solution (or body wash), dip brush and shake off excess mixture, scrub shoes, wipe off excess soap and water from shoes, let dry.


If you’re cleaning your leather shoes it’s a pretty simple process just follow the steps listed above but I would recommend using a softer bristle brush while doing so as to not scratch the leather all up. More important for patent leather rather than normal leather.

Suede or fur

For suede shoes or anything with fur on them you’ll have to dry brush your shoes first. Instead of using a dry clothe to wipe off any excess dirt make sure to use a dry brush to really get into the material and make sure all the dirt has been loosened up and agitated out before getting the sneaker wet. Personally I would go a light on the liquid to make sure you aren’t over saturating the shoes but after the dry brush through the steps are the same.

Fly-knit or similar shoe materials

For shoes like this I recommend using a softer bristle brush so that you aren’t fraying the knit on your sneakers. And depending on the material of your soles you could even toss them in the washing machine. If your soles are rubber I recommend using a washing machine because it’s so easy. Put your individual shoes into some sort of bag (I use old pillow cases) toss in some detergent and wash on on cold. After just let them air dry and if you’re going bare foot in your shoes please use some of those scent beads, please.

Those are the main types of materials you’re going to encounter while cleaning your shoes and how to clean them. If you ever have any questions just hit me up on IG and I can give you some advice.

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