Did you know that Jordan tennis shoes generate a whopping $3 million in revenue every five hours?
Though they first grew in fame among basketball enthusiasts, these shoes have become both iconic and wildly popular in the world of fashion. Today, Jordans are recognizable at a glance. Whether you simply like the look of them or you’re an avid sneaker collector, you’re in good company if you own a pair.
However, like any other sneakers, these shoes can grow dirty with frequent wear. It’s hard to value these investments when they’re caked in debris, but understanding how to protect the shoes’ delicate materials can be tricky.
That’s where the right shoe care comes in. Here’s what to know about keeping your Jordans looking like new for longer.
Avoid Washing Machines
First things first: we never recommend throwing your Jordan sneakers in the wash.
Though some types of tennis shoes can take a thorough cleaning with a washing machine, any sneaker collector will tell you not to expose a pair of beloved or valuable shoes to such rough agitation. There’s always a small risk of damage, even on a delicate cycle with a cold wash.
Instead, we recommend washing every part of your shoes by hand. This gives you complete control over the pressure you’re putting on each section, allowing you to be gentle where your shoes need the most protection.
Gather Your Supplies
You’ll want to have a soft-bristled shoe brush on hand for most of the cleaning. If you don’t have one, you can also use a spare toothbrush. In addition, grab some towels and find a microfiber cloth, if you have one on hand.
It’s also helpful if you have shoe trees for your Jordans. If you don’t own any, crumpled pieces of newspaper can do the job.
For your cleaning solution, mix a small amount of laundry detergent into some warm water. If your shoes are white, or if their lighter areas need extra cleaning, you can add some baking soda to the solution to brighten them.
If you want to make this easier on yourself, consider purchasing a cleaning kit designed for shoe cleaning. These kits come with specialized cleaning solutions, shoe trees, different-sized bristle brushes, microfiber cloths, and other helpful tools. You can even buy kits designed with different materials in mind if you want to protect your leather or suede Jordans, for example, though we’ll include extra tips on this below.
Clean Your Shoes
When you’re ready to clean your shoes, be sure to put your shoe trees, crumpled newspaper, or a rolled-up towel into them. This helps your Jordans keep their shape while you clean them. Here are the steps to follow:
Remove and Clean the Laces
Using the cleaning solution you made, remove and clean the laces by hand. Massaging them with your fingers is usually enough to get them clean. When you’re done, blot them with a towel and let them dry.
Remove Dirt and Debris
If your shoes are covered in dirt, start by getting them off. You can use a dry shoe brush for this part, though a toothbrush might be better for cleaning smaller areas.
Wash the Uppers
Once your shoe is free of obvious debris, start cleaning your shoes from the top down. With the uppers, you can start by dunking your cleaning brush in the solution you made earlier.
Use gentle strokes to clean the uppers. Scrubbing too hard can damage the materials. Pat them down with a towel when you’re done.
Wash the Insoles
Jordans don’t come with removable insoles by design, but some sneaker collectors take them out for ease of cleaning. If you’ve done this, remove your insoles to clean them with a brush dipped in your cleaning solution.
Use a towel to pat them dry when you’re done. Be aware that reinserting insoles before they’re fully dry can make the insides of your shoes smell musty and damp.
Scrub the Soles
The soles of your shoe can take more of a beating than the rest of the materials, so scrubbing them with your bristle brush is fine. As with the other parts of the shoe, rinse them down, towel them off, and let them continue drying when you’re done.
Considerations for Special Materials
Different Jordan sneakers may use different materials. The Air Jordan 11, for example, has patent leather, Cordura nylon, clear rubber, and other synthetic materials. To see what that looks like, visit KicksCrew here.
Depending on the sneaker you’re wearing, these different materials may need a bit of special attention. While most synthetic materials can take a heavier beating, you should be more careful with the materials below.
Leather, patent leather, and synthetic leather are all prone to staining. Regular cleaning can help, but it’s important not to scrub too hard, as this may damage the materials. Use a towel or microfiber cloth if you want to be especially gentle.
Suede is a less common material for Jordans, and it can be tough to clean. Consider buying a suede brush, which is designed for cleaning such delicate fibers. Be sure to brush in the direction of the grain, meaning the way the suede fibers fall, instead of against it.
Nylon mesh is easier to clean with a toothbrush than a bristle brush.
Knit fabrics are easier to clean with a soft cloth. These fabrics tend to be a little more fragile than the materials above, so be gentle even when cleaning heavy stains.
Make the Most of Your Jordan Tennis Shoes
Whether you’ve bought your Jordan tennis shoes as your regular footwear or you’ve added them to a larger collection, the right sneaker care can keep them looking pristine. Gentle cleaning solutions, products, and brush strokes can help protect the materials for years to come.
Looking for tips to get more out of your belongings? Be sure to take a look at our other content for additional advice!