How to Restore Your Sneakers: A Step-by-Step Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Gather your cleaning supplies
  2. Remove laces and insoles
  3. Clean the upper part of the sneakers
  4. Tackle the soles
  5. Wash the laces and insoles
  6. Dry your sneakers properly
  7. Use a sneaker eraser for scuff marks
  8. Apply a sneaker protector
  9. Replace the laces and insoles
  10. Store your sneakers correctly

Every sneaker enthusiast knows the pain of seeing their favorite pair lose its luster over time. But despair not! With some simple steps and a bit of elbow grease, you can restore your tarnished treasures back to their former glory. Welcome to the world of sneaker restoration!

Gather Your Cleaning Supplies

Before you start your sneaker restoration project, it's important to have all your cleaning supplies handy. Here's what you'll need:

  • Sneaker Cleaner: A good sneaker cleaner is a must. Brands like Jason Markk or Crep Cure are popular choices in the sneaker restoration community. This will be your main tool for getting rid of dirt and grime.
  • Brushes: You'll need a variety of brushes to tackle different parts of your sneakers. A soft bristle brush is great for the upper part while a hard bristle brush will come in handy for scrubbing the soles.
  • Towels: Grab some microfiber towels. These are ideal for wiping your sneakers down and helping them dry.
  • Sneaker Eraser: This little magic tool is excellent for dealing with scuff marks. It's like a pencil eraser, but for your sneakers!
  • Sneaker Protector: After you've cleaned your sneakers, a sneaker protector will help keep them looking fresh for longer. It adds a protective layer that guards against dirt, stains, and water.

With these supplies at your disposal, you're ready to embark on your sneaker restoration journey. Remember, patience is key: restoring a pair of sneakers is a labor of love. So, roll up your sleeves, and let's get started!

Remove Laces and Insoles

Step one in your sneaker restoration project: take off the laces and insoles. Why, you ask? Well, this allows you to give every part of your shoe the attention it deserves. Plus, it prevents the laces and insoles from getting damaged during the cleaning process.

Removing the laces is pretty straightforward—just unthread them from the eyelets. For the insoles, gently lift them from the heel end and slowly peel them off. Be careful not to rip them. If they are stuck, don't force it. Some sneakers have non-removable insoles.

Set the laces and insoles aside for now. We'll get back to them later. Now, you're ready to dive into the main task: cleaning your sneakers. Ready? Let's get to it!

Clean the Upper Part of the Sneakers

With your laces and insoles safely set aside, it's time to focus on the upper part of your sneakers. This is where most of the visual magic happens in sneaker restoration. So, let's make sure we get it right, shall we?

First things first, you'll need a mild soap or sneaker cleaning solution and a soft brush. We don't want anything too harsh—it might damage the material. A toothbrush or a nail brush will do just fine. Now, dampen the brush with warm water, apply a bit of soap, and gently scrub the upper part of your sneakers. Do this in a circular motion to really get rid of the dirt.

Remember, the keyword here is "gently". Scrubbing too hard might cause unnecessary wear and tear. Also, make sure to clean the tongue as well. It's a dirt magnet!

Once you're done, wipe the soap off with a damp cloth, then pat dry with a towel. Now take a step back and admire your work. Starting to look better, right?

Tackle the Soles

Now that the upper part of your sneakers is clean, it's time to give the soles some much-needed attention. This part of your shoe takes the most beating, so it's only fair that we give them the TLC they deserve during your sneaker restoration process.

You'll need the same tools as before—a mild soap or a sneaker cleaning solution and a brush. However, for the soles, you might want to use a brush with harder bristles. An old toothbrush or a scrub brush will do the job.

Start by wetting the brush with warm water, add a little bit of soap, and then start scrubbing. Remember those nooks and crannies we talked about earlier? Well, soles have even more. So, make sure to get in there and get all the dirt out.

Be sure to rinse off all the soap with warm water and then pat them dry with a towel. There you go! Your soles should be looking as good as new.

But, hey, we're not done yet. We've got a few more steps to go in our sneaker restoration guide. Let's keep moving!

Wash the Laces and Insoles

Now that your sneakers are starting to look fresh and clean, let's not forget about the laces and insoles. These parts of your sneaker can harbor a lot of dirt and odor, and cleaning them is a vital part of the sneaker restoration process.

First, let's tackle the laces. Put them in a small bowl with warm water and a little bit of soap. Let them soak for about 15 minutes. After that, gently rub them between your fingers to get rid of any dirt. Rinse them under running water and then lay them out to dry.

Next up, the insoles. You'll want to use a soft brush for this task. Just like with the laces, soak the insoles in a mixture of warm water and soap. Gently scrub the insoles, paying extra attention to the areas that have more contact with your feet. Rinse off the soap, and then pat them dry with a towel.

Alright! Now your laces and insoles are clean and fresh. This is sneaker restoration at its finest. But, don't get too excited—we still have a few steps to go.

Dry Your Sneakers Properly

Well done! You've made it through the cleaning stage of your sneaker restoration journey. But before you start to celebrate, there's a crucial step you need to nail: drying your sneakers correctly. Incorrect drying can lead to discoloration or even cause your sneakers to lose their shape.

The golden rule here is—never put your sneakers in the dryer or leave them out in direct sunlight. These methods may seem quick and convenient, but they can seriously damage your shoes.

Instead, opt for air drying. Start by stuffing your sneakers with paper towels or newspaper. This does two things: it helps to absorb moisture from the inside, and it helps to maintain the shape of your sneakers as they dry.

Next, find a cool, well-ventilated area to leave your sneakers. This could be near an open window or a fan. Just make sure they're not directly under a heat source or in sunlight.

Patience is key in the sneaker restoration process. Depending on how wet your sneakers are, it can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for them to fully dry. But trust me, the wait is worth it.

By now, your sneakers should be looking and smelling a whole lot better. But we're not finished yet—there are still a few more steps in the sneaker restoration process. Hang in there!

Use a Sneaker Eraser for Scuff Marks

So, your sneakers are now as clean as a whistle and properly dried. What's next on the sneaker restoration agenda? It's time to tackle those pesky scuff marks. Unlike regular dirt or stains, scuff marks can be stubborn and require a bit more effort to remove. But don't worry, a sneaker eraser will become your best friend in this situation.

A sneaker eraser is a specially designed product—kind of like a magic eraser, but for shoes. You can usually find them in shoe stores or online. They're often inexpensive, yet incredibly effective.

Using a sneaker eraser is simple: you just rub it gently on the scuff mark until it disappears. It's like erasing a pencil mark from paper, but on a shoe. And remember, always start gently. You can always add more pressure if needed, but it's impossible to undo the damage caused by rubbing too hard.

After using the sneaker eraser, your shoes should be looking pretty close to new. But we're not done yet. There's still a couple more steps to complete your sneaker restoration project. Ready? Let's move on!

Apply a Sneaker Protector

With those scuff marks gone, you're now ready for the next step in your sneaker restoration journey: applying a sneaker protector. Why, you ask? Well, think about it. You've just put in a good deal of effort to clean your sneakers. It's only fair to give them some armor against the elements, right?

A sneaker protector is like an invisible shield—it safeguards your shoes from water, dirt, and all those everyday messes that could ruin their look. It's a small step that makes a big difference in maintaining that fresh-out-of-the-box glow.

Using it is a breeze. You just spray it evenly over your sneakers, making sure to cover all areas. Some sneaker protectors might need a second coat, so do check the instructions on the bottle. Once applied, let it dry completely before you start strutting around in your newly restored kicks.

It's worth noting that sneaker protector isn't a one-time thing. For optimal protection, you should reapply it every few weeks, or sooner if you notice your shoes are starting to get dirty more quickly. This will keep your sneakers looking their best for much longer.

So there you have it—you're one step closer to completing your sneaker restoration mission. Now, let's lace those beauties back up and get them ready for the road!

Replace the Laces and Insoles

Now that you've armored your sneakers with a protector, it's time to focus on the final touches. One of the least visible but most impactful aspects of sneaker restoration is replacing the laces and insoles. Yes, those seemingly small parts can make a big difference!

Starting with the laces, let's be honest, they often bear the brunt of our on-the-go lifestyle. They get stained, frayed, and even torn. That's why investing in a fresh pair of laces can instantly breathe new life into your sneakers. Just make sure you choose the right length and style for your sneakers. Trust me, it's a small detail that adds a whole lot of charm.

Next up: the insoles. These hidden heroes of comfort can wear out over time, taking a toll on the overall comfort of your sneakers. Consider getting new insoles that offer a good blend of cushioning and support. Not only will your feet thank you, but you'll also feel like you're walking in new shoes—because, essentially, you are!

And there you go—you're almost at the finish line of your sneaker restoration journey. All that's left is to store them properly, but we'll get to that next. For now, take a moment to admire your hard work. Your sneakers are looking and feeling better already, aren't they?

Store Your Sneakers Correctly

Alright, you've done an amazing job with the sneaker restoration so far. You've cleaned, restored, and replaced parts of your sneakers, and they're looking pretty fabulous. But hold on, we're not done just yet. The way you store your sneakers is equally important to maintain their newfound glory.

First off, resist the urge to chuck your freshly restored sneakers at the bottom of your closet. Instead, find a clean, dry place to store them. Humidity can be a sneaker's worst enemy, causing unwanted odor and even mold over time. So, keep them somewhere dry. You don't want all your hard work to go to waste, right?

Next, consider using shoe trees. No, not a magical tree that grows shoes, but a handy device that maintains your sneaker's shape when you're not wearing them. Shoe trees can help prevent creases and wrinkles, keeping your sneakers looking newer for longer. Plus, they're pretty affordable and easy to use.

Lastly, if your sneakers came with a box, use it! Shoe boxes aren't just for retail—they're actually a great storage solution. They protect your sneakers from dust and sunlight, which can cause discoloration over time. And remember, always store your sneakers out of reach from pets. Sneaker chew toys, anyone? I didn't think so.

And there you have it, folks. You've successfully navigated the ins and outs of sneaker restoration. So, give yourself a pat on the back, lace up those shiny sneakers, and strut with pride.

If you enjoyed our step-by-step guide on restoring sneakers and want to explore more creative tips and tricks, check out Daisie's classes. Our platform offers a wide range of workshops and courses designed to help you improve your skills and fuel your passion for creativity.