Aug 02, 2023

7 ways to keep your trainers looking box fresh for longer

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There's something so delightful about buying new trainers – lifting the lid of the shoebox and parting the tissue paper to reveal a pristine pair of sneakers (and breathing in that distinctive aroma, of course).

What's not so enjoyable is when your fresh kicks rapidly turn from spotless to spoiled – especially during the colder months, when our footwear has to contend with mushy autumn leaves, muddy puddles, slush and snow.

But with the right care and cleaning, you can keep sneakers looking snazzy, whether they’re bright white, jet black or multicoloured. Here, experts share their top tips for looking after your trainers…

1. Use protection

"Always spray your shoes with a shoe protector," says Derek Morrison, general manager EMEA at sneaker specialists StockX (

Natasha Seal-Jones, cleaning expert from Cherry Blossom ( agrees with the importance of a protector spray. By spritzing on the fabric an "invisible protective barrier is put in place, meaning liquid will run off your shoes instead of staining them", she says.

2. Store them securely

If you want black or brightly coloured trainers to retain their vivid hue, Morrison advises: "Store them in a cool, dark place to avoid sun damage, and use shrink wrap [cling film] to keep dust and humidity away."

3. Pop them in the washing machine

"If your shoes are made of fabric or canvas, you can put them in the washing machine on a quick, cold cycle at a low spin – I would recommend 30 degrees with a spin of 700 [RPM] or lower," says Lisa Kay, founder of footwear brand Sole Bliss (

Remove laces and pop them in a net washing bag to ensure they’re thoroughly cleaned and don't get lost in the machine.

However, not all shoes can withstand a spin cycle. "If your trainers are made of leather or suede, you should avoid putting them in the washing machine," suggests Kay.

4. Treat stains separately

If you step in something icky or suffer a sneaker spillage, time is of the essence.

"Acting fast to soak up the stain with kitchen paper or rinsing straight away will help," says Seal-Jones. "The most important thing to avoid is letting the spillage or dirt sit on your footwear, as the longer you leave it, the more ingrained in the fibres it will get."

Next, get to work with a stain remover that's suitable for the fabric. Kay says: "If you have any super tough stains, you should scrub them first with a stain remover or bicarbonate of soda."

5. Make your own cleaning solution

To treat leather, Kay recommends: "Make your own by mixing two parts white vinegar with one part olive oil."

Whether homemade or shop-bought, be careful before washing new shoes. "We always recommend patch-testing your cleaner at the back of the shoe before applying all over," Kay adds.

6. Try a whitener

White leather trainers like Adidas Stan Smiths or Veja Campos need special attention to keep them looking immaculate.

"Dish soap, baking soda, and diluted white vinegar are household items to have handy, but really, it's best to have a specialist shoe cleaner on hand," says Seal-Jones.

"If the colour of your white leather has faded or even yellowed, then specialist shoe whiteners tend to be your best friend, because they add colour back onto the affected areas."

7. Beware of the weather

If you really want to avoid stains and discolouration, it's best to leave your favourite footwear at home when bad weather looms.

"Avoid wearing trainers you want to protect on rainy days," says Morrison. "And make sure you have a couple on rotation that you’re happy to wear instead."

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1. Use protection 2. Store them securely 3. Pop them in the washing machine 4. Treat stains separately 5. Make your own cleaning solution 6. Try a whitener 7. Beware of the weather