The process of breaking in a new pair of shoes can be a grueling – and sometimes even awkward – experience. Some vicious shoes give you such bad blisters when you break them in that they leave scars on your heels. When it comes to breaking in white shoes, they look like you just doused them in bleach, and people may even start to stare at your feet when you wear those flashy things outside for the first time. There’s a brief period when your white shoes have the perfect amount of dirt and scuff to detract from their obnoxiousness, but then they start to get too dirty. After miles of wear of tear, the soles of your shoes are dirtier than a landfill and have seen better days. Stan Smith shoes specifically have white soles, so those will lose their blindingly-white color faster than you would believe. No one really thinks to check the soles of their shoes to begin with, but giving them a nice clean every once in a while can slowly bring the shoes back to their glory days. Check out how to clean the soles of your beloved Stan Smiths, because no shoe sole should look like you’ve just walked on a pig farm.
For this cleaning DIY, you only need a toothbrush, mild dish soap or a gentle laundry detergent, a bowl of water, a wash cloth, and a towel. First, pour the dish soap into the bowl of water. Try to keep the water at room temperature. Then, dip the wash cloth in the soap and water. Wring it out a little bit so that it’s damp but not dripping with water.
Scrub the wash cloth on the soles of your Stan Smiths. Don’t be afraid to get aggressive—all that dirt isn’t going to come off on its own! You can also dip your soles into the bowl of soap and water if it’s big enough, but don’t put the entire shoe in. Let them soak for a few minutes while holding them.
Next comes the toothbrush. To get into all those pesky little grooves and circles on the soles of your Stans, dip the toothbrush in the soapy water and scrub away. Truly channel your inner Cinderella and brush as hard and as thoroughly as you can. That tiny rock that’s been wedged in there for weeks can finally be set free! If there’s any gum on the bottom, it might be a lost cause if it’s been festering on the sole of your shoe for weeks. But, if the disgusting chunk is fairly fresh, Famous Footwear recommends freezing your shoes and letting the gum harden so you can scrape it off with a knife in one fell swoop.
The soles of Stan Smiths are particularly difficult to clean because they have SO many crevices. You might not be able to reach all of them, but give it your best shot. You can also use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for an extra clean that’ll give your shoes that lovely, satisfying finishing touch.
Finally, give the soles a nice dry off with a bath towel or paper towels. Your soles should look good as new and you can go back to wearing your Stan Smiths 24/7. You’ll probably have to repeat this process every few weeks or so once your soles get dirty again. It’s the price we must pay for buying white sneakers.