how to clean new balance shoes

How to Clean New Balance Shoes

New Balance shoes have been providing comfort and style to athletes and casual wearers for over a century.

Known for their quality construction and wide range of styles, New Balance has made a name for itself in the global footwear market.

From the iconic 990 series to the more recent Fresh Foam line, New Balance shoes have shown remarkable durability and high-performance characteristics.

1.2 Importance of Cleaning New Balance Shoes

Just like any other pair of shoes, New Balance shoes require regular cleaning to maintain their aesthetic appeal and longevity. Dirt, sweat, and other contaminants can degrade the materials of the shoe over time, leading to premature wear and tear. Moreover, a clean pair of shoes reflects on personal hygiene and style.

Preparing for Cleaning

2.1 Gathering Cleaning Supplies

Before you begin the cleaning process, gather the necessary supplies. These typically include:

  • A soft-bristle brush or old toothbrush
  • A mild cleaning solution (dish soap or specialized shoe cleaner)
  • Soft cloths or sponges
  • Cold water

2.2 Checking the Care Label

Always check the care label of your New Balance shoes before cleaning. This label provides information about the shoe materials and appropriate cleaning methods. Ignoring this information can lead to damage.

2.3 Removing the Laces and Insoles

Remove the laces and insoles from your shoes. This allows for a more thorough cleaning and prevents potential damage to these components.

Cleaning Techniques for Different Shoe Materials

3.1 Cleaning Mesh or Fabric Uppers

3.1.1 Brushing Off Loose Dirt and Debris

Gently brush the upper part of the shoe to remove loose dirt and debris. This pre-cleaning step prevents unnecessary rubbing of dirt into the material during the washing process.

3.1.2 Handwashing or Machine Washing

For mesh or fabric uppers, you can either handwash or machine wash them. If handwashing, create a mixture of cold water and mild soap, then use a soft brush or cloth to gently clean the shoes. If machine washing, use a gentle cycle and cold water. However, always check the care label first to ensure machine washing is safe for your shoes.

3.1.3 Air Drying

After washing, air dry your shoes at room temperature. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight or near a heat source, as this can cause discoloration and material warping.

3.2 Cleaning Leather Uppers

3.2.1 Removing Surface Stains

Wipe the surface of the leather with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or stains. Never soak leather shoes as this can damage the material.

3.2.2 Conditioning the Leather

After cleaning, apply a leather conditioner to keep the material soft and prevent cracking. Always test the conditioner on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t discolor the leather.

3.2.3 Polishing the Shoes

For a polished finish, apply a shoe cream that matches the color of your shoes. Buff the shoes with a soft cloth until they shine.

3.3 Cleaning Suede or Nubuck Uppers

3.3.1 Using a Suede Brush

Suede or nubuck materials require a special suede brush to clean. This brush helps to lift dirt and restore the nap of the suede.

3.3.2 Treating Stains and Scuffs

Treat stains and scuffs using a suede eraser or cleaner. Always follow the instructions of the cleaning product to avoid causing further damage.

3.3.3 Applying a Suede Protector

After cleaning, apply a suede protector to help shield the material from future stains and water damage. Spray it evenly over the surface and let it dry naturally.

Cleaning the Midsole and Outsole

4.1 Removing Dirt and Grime

To clean the midsole and outsole, begin by brushing off loose dirt and grime. Pay particular attention to the grooves where dirt can become lodged.

4.2 Scrubbing with a Cleaning Solution

Next, create a mild cleaning solution with dish soap and cold water. Use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the midsole and outsole thoroughly, working the solution into the grooves.

4.3 Cleaning Rubber or Gum Soles

For rubber or gum soles, a magic eraser can be particularly effective. Simply wet the eraser and scrub the soles until the dirt and stains are gone.

Drying and Deodorizing

5.1 Air Drying the Shoes

After cleaning, air dry your shoes in a well-ventilated area. As mentioned before, avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat, which can cause damage.

5.2 Using Absorbent Materials

To speed up the drying process and help maintain the shape of the shoes, insert crumpled newspaper or dry rags inside the shoes. Replace these materials every few hours until the shoes are completely dry.

5.3 Applying Deodorizing Techniques

If your shoes have an unpleasant odor, consider using a shoe deodorizer or sprinkling baking soda inside them. Let them sit overnight, then shake out the excess before wearing.

Reassembling the Shoes

6.1 Inserting Clean Insoles

Once the shoes and insoles are completely dry, reinsert the insoles. If the insoles are worn out or still smell bad even after cleaning, consider replacing them.

6.2 Lacing Up the Shoes

Next, lace up your shoes. This is a chance to give your shoes a new look by trying different lacing techniques.

6.3 Adding Finishing Touches

For leather shoes, apply a final layer of polish for an extra shine. For suede or nubuck shoes, you might want to brush the surface one last time to restore the nap.

Maintenance Tips for Keeping New Balance Shoes Clean

7.1 Regular Cleaning Routine

Regularly clean your New Balance shoes to keep them looking their best. How often you should clean them depends on how frequently you wear them and the conditions they are exposed to.

7.2 Protective Measures

Use shoe protectants suitable for the material of your shoes. These products can help prevent stains and water damage, making cleaning easier in the future.

7.3 Storage and Organization Tips

Store your shoes properly when not in use. Avoid cramming them in a tight space, which can cause deformation. Use a shoe rack or box, and keep them in a cool, dry place.


Keeping your New Balance shoes clean not only maintains their aesthetic appeal but also extends their lifespan.

The cleaning process might be time-consuming, but it’s worth the effort considering the comfort, performance, and style that New Balance shoes offer.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your shoes stay in top condition for as long as possible.

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