The white shoe is a wardrobe staple that is worn by people . But over time and with use, their pristine whiteness can be challenging to maintain. Dirt, wear and tear, and the elements can all take their toll on the brightness of our favourite shoes. Thankfully, there are eco-friendly tricks to bringing shoes of every material back to their original state. Before we reveal our best-kept tips on care and maintenance, make sure you check out our latest guide to buying running shoes, where we narrow down the best white designer sneakers of the moment.
We've researched several natural and effective cleaning solutions for your white shoes that avoid toxic and polluting detergents. Vestiaire Collective shares our top tips and tricks to help you care for your white shoes. If one day, you decide to list them on the app for resale, they’ll be in great shape.
It's a fact, white shoes are in, and they are here to stay. High-end designers and athletic brands alike have created a white shoe to match every personality and price point; whether your style is elegant, streetwear, casual or minimalist, the perfect pair is out there for you. As coveted and versatile as white is, it gets dirty easily, even if you are very careful. You will need to know what materials your shoes are made of before getting started on cleaning. An unfortunate surprise can occur if you rush in with the wrong methods and products. It is important to note that we recommend cleaning and not camouflaging. So forget about liquid correctors and white polishes.
It's always wise to ask a professional for advice before diving into the unknown. Suppose you cannot locate the source of materials on the inside of your shoes. In that case, a cobbler will be able to identify whether they are made of leather, suede, or canvas and if the sole is rubber, crepe, or synthetic material. Leather and suede are animal skins, but there are now 100% vegan, environmentally friendly, and cruelty-free version materials that are gorgeous.
Canvas is often made from cotton or satin, which is easier to clean than leather, but there is always a risk of leaving a ring or possible discolouration if the wrong cleaning products are used. As for the soles, general wear and tear is inevitable from walking outside, but there are a few tricks to spruce them up. Follow the rules ahead to keep your favourite white shoes as bright as they were out of the box.
Once you have identified the material of your white shoes, we recommend that you arm yourself with a few tools and some basic household products. You only need seven ingredients to restore your leather or canvas shoes, and they're easier to find than you might think. Most of them are probably already in your home sitting under your kitchen sink, and if not, you'll have no trouble locating them at your local store. Here's the list: white vinegar, an old toothbrush and toothpaste, castile soap, baking soda, a cloth, and make-up remover. There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on cleaning supplies that are known to be harmful to your health and the planet.
Conventional cleaning products contain chemicals that can cause long-term side effects on our skin and general health. These conventional detergents have a serious impact on our environment, contributing to ocean pollution, the endocrine disruption of fish and cetaceans, and degrading the health of our soil. So why not use natural alternatives to these dangerous products?
Not only will you spend less, but you will also get the same results while protecting our planet. When you learn that the United States produces 400 million tons of hazardous waste every year, it gives you food for thought. Let's clean out our cupboards full of toxic chemicals and make room for more environmentally friendly solutions, just as our grandmothers did not so long ago.
Now that you have the right products handy, it's time to get practical about resurrecting your dirty white shoes. Start with the easy part: the laces. They usually degrade faster than the rest of the shoe. First, scrub your laces separately with a toothbrush and a little soap and then put them in the washing machine. Feel free to wash them as many times as necessary until they have regained their original whiteness. The look of brand new laces will give your shoes an overall brighter appearance.
Remove traces of dirt or grass from your canvas shoes by scrubbing the material with baking soda on a toothbrush dipped in warm water. Rinse your shoes with warm water and dry them out of reach from the sun's powerful rays to avoid any discolouration. To be safe, it's also best to avoid drying your canvas shoes with a hairdryer or any other powered heat source. If you don't have baking soda, a little white toothpaste or white vinegar will also do the trick.
The best way to clean stains on your white leather shoes is to wash them with soapy water or white vinegar and dry them with a clean cloth. You can also use the same solution on the sole. To regain the leather's lustre after they dry, apply makeup remover to the area. The oils in the makeup remover will nourish the leather and remove any remaining stains.
Do you notice yellow marks on the soles and toes of your sneakers? This discolouration is commonly found on the areas made of plastic, and a simple solution of either white vinegar or toothpaste will effectively re-whiten them. Reach for your trusty toothbrush again, soak it with one of the two products, and gently scrub to get a clean white. All it takes is a little elbow grease and attention to detail to give your faded shoes another life.
Impeccable style and pristine minimalist looks certainly have their place in fashion and are often what most of us strive for. But there is no denying the effortlessly cool appeal of wearing a perfectly worn-in shoe or accessory. Well-loved, patina-rich leather boots and handbags or a slightly distressed cap and vintage workout shoes remain a much-loved classic.
A prime example of a delightfully distressed sneaker is the Joe by Saint Laurent in white leather. A shoe made all the more desirable because it is perfectly worn in all the right places. The Joe was inspired by the luxury grunge of the '80s and is adorned with an edgy Saint Laurent inscription on the sole. The popular Italian Golden Goose sneakers surf the same wave as Saint Laurent and offer high or low tops with deliberately aged and scratched white leather. A design that proves a vintage look can be an international success that continues to sell out everywhere. Even though scruffy-chic designer goods received pushback a few decades ago, the trend has now evolved into a real societal phenomenon.
Balenciaga also produced a famous dirty-looking model of the Triple S, while Gucci's Screener is crafted from sandy beige monogrammed canvas streaked with black shadows that look like stains. We can't forget the always avant-garde Pharrell Williams, who in 2014 sported Stan Smiths customised with scribbled black marker designs. The appearance marked the launch of his collaboration with Adidas! Take a look at the selection of distressed styles on Vestiaire Collective. By buying them second-hand, you help support a global transition toward circular fashion.
Men and women alike turn to the white shoe year-round and in various finishes for a look that is hard to miss. The optical hue represents purity and elegance and is often the colour of choice for wedding shoes, ceremonies, and formal events. Others will not hesitate to wear them day or night, in the office, or on the weekends. Even though standards were set in the past, you are free to wear white in your own way and whenever you'd like. The white shoe holds an exciting place in our wardrobes, sometimes acting as a statement and other times as a classic, but always an essential.
The white shoe has survived the decades without ever looking tired. They may get dirty faster, but by following our cleaning guides, you can always revive their shine or let the patina of time do its work. Leather lovers will adore the fresh classic sneaker or a pair of ankle boots. We love a Chelsea silhouette for men and square heels for women to inspire a sharp British mood. The vegan leather alternative allows you to adhere to your commitment and values for a more environmentally friendly fashion.
Casual canvas fans can opt for the Converse All-Star or a luxury version with monogrammed tone-on-tone sneakers from See By Chloé. Pristine white shoes of all styles and shapes can be found on the Vestiaire app. When you buy yours second-hand and take care of them with regular cleaning, your shoes can last for many years to come.
We all know what it’s like to wear a new pair of bright white shoes for the first time, that special feeling of a fresh beginning. Once you’ve cleaned your white shoes and they feel new again, you can keep them that way longer by waterproofing the uppers. Waterproofing products protect your immaculate footwear from rain and act as a preventative, stopping stains from setting in. Repeat this action regularly to ensure that the product continues to work effectively over time. Suppose, despite everything, you aren’t able to get your shoes looking as bright as they used to, and you're worried about damaging them. In that case, there are professionals that specialise in cleaning and refreshing them for you.
In the end, it doesn't really matter where or how you wear your white shoes. The most important thing is that you feel like your best self in them and you can do so by choosing to buy them pre-loved on Vestiaire Collective. It's time to raise our ecological awareness and help prevent the waste invading the world's landfills. Fashion production is getting more responsible with time, but there is still a long way to go. When you choose to buy second-hand on Vestiaire Collective, you don't have to worry about the waste associated with producing new pieces. Join our community of Fashion Activists and find a pair white shoes you’ll love for seasons to come!