We’ve all been there. You’re riding your skateboard really well, and then something happens. You’ve either rode it too hard, or you’ve stepped in something. Your shoes are now a mess, and you just don’t know what to do to correct the problem. Today, we are going to help you out with that by helping teach you how to take care of and clean your skate shoes. No one wants to look sloppy while they are riding, and footwear is one area that defines us the most. Avoid looking like a bum and keep looking fresh by taking care of those shoes beneath you!
What’s At Risk?
Did you know that you can literally destroy your shoes if you don’t clean them properly? This fact might be off putting to a few, but it’s just the stone cold truth of the matter. If you don’t take precautions and do it the right way, your shoes might just come apart. This doesn’t mean you should forgo washing or cleaning them entirely, but it does mean you need to be careful and follow guidelines.
Let’s Talk Washing Machines
The washer is a big time helper in our lives. Get a stain on your favorite shirt? No problem at all. Just throw it in the wash. With many shoes, you can do the same thing. You can throw them in and they will erase scuffs, mud, grime, and all sorts of stuff. But not all shoes are created equal. And even the greatest of shoes will begin to fall apart if you are over washing them in there. With skate shoes, it’s a pretty big risk to throw them in there. You could do so, and you might just get away with it, but it’s going to really come back to haunt you over time if you repeatedly do this. Let’s just think a minute about what skate shoes are. They are fairly light shoes that don’t have a ton of support. How well do you think those will hold up in a washer? If the answer is not so well, you’ve hit it on the head. If you do insist on doing this, then you need to make sure to clean off everything you can beforehand. You don’t want to literally dump mud into the washing machine. So, clean off the sole, use a brush if you have to in between the little grooves, and do everything you can. Then, make sure to take out the insoles and also the shoelaces. Both of them erode faster than the rest of the shoe, so putting them in is a recipe for disaster.
Also, never, ever throw any shoes into the dryer. This is a no-no that ends poorly no matter which type of shoe you are wearing and seeking to wash. On the same note, you shouldn’t put them directly in the sun, either. This is the same sort of process, though it’s far less destructive than the dryer would be. Instead, you can just leave them laying out. Propping them up against a fan or under a ceiling fan is also a good option to push along the process a little bit more. Read on below for ideas of how to clean without the use of the washing machine, as this should only been seen as a last resort.
Cleaning the White Strip
This part of the shoe is going to be the white part around the edges. We all know this part. It’s the part that sticks out and is the first bit to take on some dirt or those hated scuff marks. It’s just one of those things you have to learn to deal with, well, until now. First, choose a cleaning product that you like. Things like bleach, rubbing alcohol, window cleaner, or lemon juice are useful. There are other options, so don’t limit yourself to just these. Once there, put them on a covered surface to such as a towel and then use a toothbrush to apply the cleaner. If you choose something like bleach, make sure to do it outside as the fumes can become way too much for you to handle. Make sure you spread your preferred cleaner out all around the canvas (i.e. that white strip). Or don’t. That’s also a fashion statement, too! Make sure you drip your brush in the cleaner and to clean all the way around. Then, wipe the shoes clean with water. Make sure they are white, like they were just out of the box, and then you are ready to go.
If you are just looking for a good quick, cleaning, then here’s a simple yet effective way to do just that. First, make sure to clean off any excess dirt that is clearly gobbed up. If there is mud, you should let it dry first. It might sound counter intuitive, but it will be far easier. When it does dry, you can just take the shoes and clatter them together to get it all knocked off. Just make sure you are outside when you do this. Also, make sure you use a brush or something to get the small bits out of the bottom of the shoes. This way nothing is forgotten and you get a full, deep clean.
Next, locate some dish detergent and then make a mix with water. Just use a tablespoon or two of the detergent, as that will be plenty for you to accomplish the job. Make sure to mix the water together with it until you see suds appear, that way you have a solution you can use instead of just two separate entities.
Then, take a brush and dip it in the water and start to work it across the shoe, back and forth over the surface. It’s here that is becomes crucial that you got the bits out of the bottoms since you might accidentally run it along there. If you do, you’ll have a very dirty brush to have to contend with. Not a pleasant sight at all. If you have a very dirty shoe, the brushing you do will have to be firmer and more plentiful. A little elbow grease, though, will get the job done.
Afterward, take the shoes and rinse them with warm water. Make sure not to soak them. You can’t throw the inserts into the washing machine, so you shouldn’t be looking to douse them with water, either. After they are all dry, or at least fairly dry, take the towel and place it over the top so that you can wipe them some more. You can leave them in there to sit, or you can move them under or beside a fan if you like.
Please note that you don’t want do any of this with super hot water. You don’t want to have your shoes turning into gumby, so make sure you use warm but not piping hot water that will scald your shoes (and you, too, in the process).
Cleaning Canvas and Synthetics
It’s rare nowadays to see a lot of true leather products, so if you have one, please disregard this. However, if your skate shoes are made from either canvas or synthetics, this can be of use to you. And most likely, they are. If you get a stain on these, it can be downright annoying and a huge bummer for you. If you have a stain, you can use what is called an enzymatic stain remover to get rid of the stain. Just pre-treat the stain and then let the shoes sit for a little while before putting them in the washing machine. Make sure to put them in using cool water and the most gentle setting that you can put them on. Then, wrap a pillowcase around the shoes to protect the integral parts of them. Use the same sort of detergent you normally would use, and then make sure to air dry your shoes. The stain should be gone and you should be very happy to have seen the last of it!
Leather and Suede Mistakes
Leather and suede are both great materials for shoes, but they are becoming less and less popular as the years ago by due to some fairly big hassles that they present. One of them is that they cannot get wet. If you get leather wet, you’re in really big trouble. It’s a great product, but when you soak leather it’s get bent and loses its integrity. The same goes for suede. Never, ever soak them. If you are even unsure of you materials, don’t even attempt to use more than a slight rinse of water. Or you could end up incredibly upset.
It’s easy to lose sight of the moment when your favorite pair of shoes have just gotten dirty. There is a tendency to freak out, not knowing what to do. But that is altogether unnecessary if you know just a few steps to take. By taking these steps, you can ensure your shoes last longer and continue to look as good as they did on you as they did on day one!