Fashion & Beauty

I see a lot of videos of how to restore (the outside) an old pairs of shoes boots but how can someone clean the inside?

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 8th, 2019 11:24 am
Deal Addict
Jun 24, 2015
3929 posts
Woodbridge, ON

I see a lot of videos of how to restore (the outside) an old pairs of shoes boots but how can someone clean the inside?

I have seen countless videos on you tube how to restore or clean an old pair of shoes, or jordans or boots or what ever, I've even tried it myself and the shoes look fantastic on the outside, however the biggest problem i have is how does one clean the INSIDE of the shoes? THe soles inside are all stinky and the fabric or materials have absorbed so much sweat and odour from your feet, yes they will look nice on the outside if you follow those tutorials on how to restore your pair of nike air jordans, but no body ever in their right mind mentions the insides of the shoes will be disgusting and will smell like rats when your done. what can you do to remove the sweats and odours from the inside fabric so the shoes are still wearable? your feet after all have to breathe or you can get a lot of foot problems like athletes feet or skin peeling off.
3 replies
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Aug 10, 2011
9480 posts

Toss them into a washing machine.
Deal Guru
User avatar
May 9, 2006
11805 posts
1. Take out insoles and toss them if they are too beaten up and go buy new ones. If still okay then keep them with the shoes in step 2.
2. Put shoes in a large ziplock bag (maybe 2 bags if you got big feet like me) and put them in your freezer over night. The freezing will kill the bacteria which in turn kills the smell.
3. Unlace and use various brushes and with soap to clean much of the dirt off. Scrub the inside too. Lace-less shoes are tougher to do, but you can use an old tooth brush to reach the toe box. You want to get out all the tough stains, so having a soft, medium and rough brushes helps, but various materials will get damaged with various brushes, so do some research first. Scrub the insoles if you kept them.
4. Toss them in the wash in a shoe bag with the laces and insoles in the bag or use a pillow case if you don't have one.
5. Once done let them air dry.
6. Insert new or cleaned insoles and re-lace and flex your kicks like they are new.

I should note some stains will not come out no matter how much you clean. For example Boost in adidas shoes or translucent soles yellowing. There are various techniques like with Boost, you can literally use a black or white Sharpie. For yellowing, there are dying techniques, but that requires a lot of time and effort with a UV set up. There are fixes to everything, but this is going into the world of shoe restoration rather than simply getting the stink out.

EDIT: If your sneakers are "vintage" (ie 8+ years old), then don't use a washing machine. The foam used in many older sneakers can become brittle over time and will get destroyed in a washing machine (rubber can crack too). Also sneakers with special materials are not suited to be washed like Jordan 11 Concords with the patent leather.