Clothing Care

Asking for a Friend: Do Some White Sneakers Stay Whiter Longer?

Kara Jillian Brown

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Photo: Stocksy / Sergey Filimonov

When you buy a pair of white sneakers, it’s because you love what a bright white shoe can do to an outfit. But, you know what you’re signing up for. Soon, and sometimes much sooner than you’d like, those sneakers will be a shell of what they once were. Less effortlessly sporty and polished, more like what you wear en route to an event with proper shoes in your bag.

Is it just me, or, do some shoes get dingier faster? Vincent Rao Jr. of Vince’s Village Cobbler, a shoe-repair shop in Soho, says it’s true.

“I noticed that my leather sneakers stay a lot cleaner than my fabric sneakers,” Rao says. “Once fabrics get stained, they’re very hard to paint, hard to clean. Leather is a lot more durable, and if it does get scuffed or if it gets damaged it’s very easy to correct.”

When searching for a white leather sneaker, Rao says to avoid patent leather and suede, because those two are the most vulnerable. “They’re extremely hard to clean, and they’re prone to getting damaged,” he says. Opt for genuine calf skin leather, which he says is the most durable.

If you’re into the chunky sneaker trend, you’re in luck, because Rao says thicker soles make a huge difference. “The higher the upper of the shoe is from the ground, the safer you’re going to be,” he says.

Snow, salt, and water are enemies of white sneakers, so keep them tucked away in the winter. However, he says weatherproofing them can help protect them from minor spills.

“If you want to keep [your white sneakers] clean, and never get them dirty just keep them in the box and keep them in your closet,” he says. “As soon as you start wearing it, it’s just going to get dirty, and it’s gonna wear. It just needs to be expected, especially on a white sneaker.”

Okay, we know we’re not supposed to, but, these winter white sneakers are just too good to save for spring. When they inevitably get dirty, try this baking soda hack

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