Other than cleaning your shoes on a regular basis, these tips will help you maintain that “new” look to your shoes.

  • Store your shoes in a cool, dry place. Keeping them out of sunlight and dust will help you maintain the shoes looking good for when you’re ready to wear them. There’s nothing worse than opening a box of shoes you had been storing for a long time only to find out they’ve yellowed due to the fact that they’ve been dried out and stored next to the heater! I know some people like to display their shoes like trophies, but this can also be a bad thing. Direct and constant light tends to dry out the shoes causing materials to break down and yellow.
  • Silica packets help by taking moisture out of the air. Moisture will eventually ruin your shoes. It’s recommended that a couple small ones be placed in the box. eBay is a really good source to buy silica packets. Another suggestion is hit up your local electronics store. Ask them and their delivery guys to give you the little packs that fall out of boxes. Tell them to just put a tiny box somewhere and toss them in, and give them $5 at the end of the week or when the box is full.

Go to Autozone, Wal-Mart, etc. and go to the wash/finishing department. You will find 4 different types of Armor All. A blue one for windows – you don’t want that. There is a brown one for leather, a purple one for all purpose cleaning, and a yellow one for UV protection. Those 3 come in spray bottles or presoaked wipes. Every pair of Jordans or anything else I get, I use the brown bottle first, and seal it with the yellow. After I wear them, I clean the midsoles and anything dirty with the purple ones, and then maybe wipe them down with the brown if they really need it. You can spend less than $20 on those 3 huge bottles of Armor All and the stuff will last you several hundred cleanings.


OK, there are 3 types of Armor All to buy. The brown bottle is an actual Armor All for leather. The Purple Bottle is a cleaner. The yellow is a UV protectant.

There are two ways to buy these: Spray and Wipes. Personally, I prefer the spray for the Brown and the Yellow bottles, because it’s more cost effective, and I can make the bottles last for years. The Purple Cleaning Armor All, I do get the wipes because leaving a carton of those by the door when I come in is easier to pull one out, wipe the shoe down, and then throw the wipe away and then put the shoes up.

Here’s the interesting thing: I have silica packs in each shoe box, i.e. to remove the moisture from the air. It seems to do wonders of removing the sweat from the shoes, but not the moisture in the shoes or the leather. 4 years, and nothing wrong with any of them. Also, I have a giant thing of Damp Rid in the closet to help control the humidity. Same thing, I think it helps keep the external moisture low. I live in a desert, and I still have moisture problems.

The WORST things to use on shoes are: Glass Cleaner, Rubbing Alcohol, any kind of cleaner with bleach in it, anything with abrasive cleaners, such as borax, on the leather especially. Glass cleaner has ammonia in it, and even the ones that say ammonia free have a type of drying agent in them that will literally dry the leather right out. Alcohol is an astringent that will do exactly the same thing. Bleach, for obvious reasons, is just a bad idea in general. You can use Ajax to scrub the midsoles using a toothbrush, but be careful not to get it on the leather when scrubbing. It?s an abrasive, even though it?s mild, you can scratch the leather of the shoes.

Those of you with XI’s, there is a product called Black Magic Tire Wet Tire Wet that will make patent leather practically glow. There’s no website I can find for these guys, but I know they carry it at Autozone’s around here. This is NOT something you want to spray directly on the shoe. Spray it on a rag and then apply it to the leather, and only the PATENT leather. The stuff is EXTREMELY slippery, and I can guarantee, you get it on the soles and forget to wipe it off, you are going to royally bust your butt when you walk.

Also, a cleaning note I am sure a LOT of people are missing: Under the laces, especially on mid’s around where you cinch, tighten, the laces through the top eyelets. Pay especially close attention to these areas when you come home. The laces pick up a ton of dirt, rub in those areas, and if you leave it long enough, it will stain.