Whether you’re a casual trainer buyer who never strays from minimalist white kicks, or an OG sneaker nut with an off-site storage unit full of Jordans and Foamposites – looking after your collection is, or should be, of paramount importance. So what can you do to keep your beloved creps in tip-top condition? Well, you can not wear them, but that’s a bit pointless. Or you can follow our experts’ pointers and make sure your sneaker collection stays fresher than Kanye in a walk-in fridge.
Clean Them Before Storing
Keeping trainers grime- and dirt-free is the biggest priority, especially when putting them away. You just need to make sure you do it right. “Our main tip is to avoid the washing machine,” says Ash Black, founder of garment care brand Mr Black. “There’s nothing worse for discolouring the fabric and rubber.” Black suggests investing in a specially formulated cleaner that can penetrate deep into the fabric of the shoes without leaving them looking like a vintage pair picked up at a car boot sale (and not in a good way.)
Use Shoe Trees Or Inserts
Creases and loss of shape are two of the biggest contributing factors in making sneakers look worn out and tired. “Using a shoe tree or inserts can help trainers retain their original shape while not being worn,” says Black. Whether you’re packing your kicks neatly in boxes, lining them up carefully on the shoe rack or chucking them in a massive pile next to your front door (please don’t do this) – shoe trees will keep them solid.
Protect, Protect, Protect
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is most definitely the case where kicks are concerned. “Keeping your trainers clean can be a daily struggle,” says Black. “Being worn with everything from suits to [weekend] gear, this versatility comes at a price as they need continual care to keep them looking fresh.” Hydrophobic shoe protector sprays are a godsend to sneakerheads. Applied around once every four weeks, these cause dirt, rain and even ketchup spillages to run straight off without leaving a stain. Just make sure you follow the instructions to avoid causing any damage yourself.
Keep Them In Shoeboxes And Out Of Direct Sunlight
Keeping trainers in the original box may seem a tad anal, but if you have a sizeable collection, it’s going to increase their lifespan significantly. “Store [your trainers] in a cool, dark and dry space,” advises Black. “My top tip would be to keep leather and suede shoes out of direct sunlight to prevent fading and cracking.” So, while keeping boxes may take up space and make you look like a grade A sneaker nerd, it is something that’s well worth doing.
Try A Different Storage Method
Die-hard sneakerheads might want to consider going one step further by investing in a dedicated storage solution. There are plenty of options out there, such as shelving and display cabinets. Whichever you choose, Black says there is only one big no-no. “Avoid storing shoes in plastic lid containers to stop mould growth,” he says. “Alternative options are to let them breathe on a shoe rack or use a dust bag instead.”