How to Start & Care for Your Sneaker Collection

Many people would balk at the idea of paying $14,500 for a pair of basketball shoes, but that was the price for an extremely rare pair of limited edition Air Jordan sneakers sold on eBay earlier this year, CNN Money reported. The shoes’ new owner probably won’t be putting their new kicks on anytime soon, the purchaser was undoubtedly a “sneakerhead?,” part of a subculture that collects and trades limited edition shoes for eye-popping prices. Sneaker collection’s popularity exploded over the last few years, and now countless self storage facilities across the nation are filled with special edition footwear. Here’s a beginner’s guide to the world of starting a shoe collection:

The Internet and the Sneaker Economy

The internet provided sneakerheads with a way to learn more about available sneakers and facilitated a boom in shoe trading and reselling. The eBay auction cited above was one of many, and some have estimated the annual sneaker trade on eBay encompasses about $200 million, Forbes reported. In an effort to drive demand, many shoe companies release certain versions of a shoe regionally or only within a certain country. These rarities then fetch incredibly high prices in the secondary market. While sneaker collection is a particularly esoteric outlet, it positively affects anyone with an interest in fashion.

Sneaker Collection

How To Care For a Prada Sneaker Collection

Prada is one of the most well-known and beloved sneakers and shoe brands, it’s true. They also put a significant dent in your savings, so cleaning them well is essential. (You likely won’t have many in your sneaker collection.) Below is a step-by-step guide on how to do that and ensure your precious Pradas remain gorgeous.

  1. Place shoe trees inside to stretch the fabric while cleaning them.
  2. Tackle the upper part of the sneaker first. Use a medium-stiff shoe brush and some warm, soapy water to brush off dirt, dust, and other debris. 
  3. Next, it’s time for the lower part of your Pradas. For this part, use a stiffer brush with the same soapy water. Don’t get frustrated if they aren’t 100% pristine afterward, as that’s difficult to accomplish.
  4. Now it’s time to apply distilled, white vinegar to all of the fabric parts of your Prada sneakers. White vinegar will remove any yellowing or discoloration left behind after the initial scrubbing. 
  5. Now place your sneakers in the freezer (yes, the freezer) for about an hour. The cold will help the white vinegar do its job and brighten your Pradas nicely.
  6. Put on your newly cleaned and refreshed Prada sneakers, and go flaunt them around town. (The most crucial step!)

How To Clean Suede Sneakers in Your Collection

Suede, like leather, is a beast to care for and clean, it’s true. It’s less durable, also, and will quickly pick up dirt and stains. That means you’ll need to be extra careful when cleaning the suede sneaker in your collection to prevent damaging it. Below we give you the step-by-step process to do that and keep your suede sneaks looking fine.

  1. Make sure that your suede sneakers are dry inside and out.
  2. Use a suede brush to gently but firmly brush the entire suede surface of your sneaks. Be sure to go “with the grain” so that you don’t stress or break the suede’s delicate fibers.
  3. Use either a suede rubber or a traditional pencil eraser to remove tough stains and spots. (Suede rubbers are basically erasers for suede products.)
  4. Use a soft, damp cloth to apply white vinegar on difficult blots. Make as many repeated passes as you can, dipping your cloth in the vinegar as you go. Keep in mind the suede color will appear darker. This darker color only lasts until the vinegar dries, though, so no biggie.
  5. Use a leather degreaser on your suede sneakers for oil or grease-based stains. (Be sure to choose one made for suede.)
  6. Give your suede kicks one last brushing with your suede brush.
  7. Marvel at your super-clean suede kicks!

How To Clean Grease Off Suede Sneaker Collections

Grease can ruin your suede sneakers for life, staining them permanently (and staining your sneaker-loving soul, too). However, if your fave suede footwear was recently subjected to an oil stain that’s still wet, there is hope. The first thing to do is locate baby powder as fast as possible. (Cornstarch will work also.) Next, place a generous amount on the stain and cover it completely. Leave the baby powder or cornstarch on the stain for a few minutes to absorb the oil. Then, simply brush it off with your suede brush. In most cases, this will solve your greasy sneaker situation for those suede sneakers in your collection.

Sneaker Collection

How To Clean a White Sneaker Collection

While they look pretty dope, the white sneakers in your collection are a real pain to keep clean. Once dirty, however, they’re even more difficult! Below are a few methods to clean white sneakers based on the material they’re constructed with, including:

White Canvas Sneakers

Sneaker cleaner and lukewarm water are the keys to cleaning white mesh sneakers. Keep in mind, though, your sneaker collection might look darker until they are thoroughly dry.

White Mesh Sneakers

Dish soap or sneaker cleaner is the cleaning agent of choice for white mesh. (Never bleach!) Also, as with suede and Prada sneaks, white vinegar works like a charm for your sneaker collection.

White Leather Sneakers

Have you ever used toothpaste to clean your sneaker collection? If not, you’ll find its perfect method to do it. Using white toothpaste and some warm water, apply the paste. Let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub for a few, also. (The results will surprise you, no fooling!)

White Sneaker Soles

A Magic Eraser is one of the best tools for cleaning white sneaker soles in your collection. If there are stains left when you’re done, apply some white nail polish to efficiently (and craftily) hide them.

White Shoelaces

Don’t forget the laces! To clean them well, take them off of your sneaks. Then use warm, soapy water to hand-wash them and dry them thoroughly. Lastly, replace the laces to complete your white sneaker cleaning duties.

Sneaker Collection is for Everyone

While a lot of people can’t spend upwards of a thousand dollars for the hottest new sneaker, the influence of sneakerheads is felt throughout the footwear industry. Shoe companies need to create unique variations on existing themes, even for models that are not sold in limited quantities, which makes more choices for consumers who just want to lace up some stylish shoes. No matter what sneakers you add to your collection, SecurCare Self Storage facilities have the space you need at affordable prices.

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This post was originally published on 1/23/2015. It was updated on 3/10/2022.

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