Thank goodness it’s 2017, a year in which trainers are socially acceptable in nearly every scenario: they’re hitting the high fashion runways, 'no trainer' policies are being ditched, and David Tennant’s Doctor Who even made a compelling case for the controversial suit and sneaker ensemble. Trainers are the best way to look good and still feel comfortable all day long. The range of men’s and women’s trainers have never been so extensive; there are so many different types of trainers to choose from that we decided to write a few pointers for looking after trainers that have been crafted from canvas, suede and leather.

So now your trainers are getting more wear than they perhaps used to, here are the best ways to protect them and keep them looking as good as new.


Looking After Canvas Trainers

Simple Footwear's Satire Canvas grey trainers

Canvas or fabric trainers are the ideal shoes to finish off a casual look. Because they’re comfortable and a great no-fuss option they can often get dirty. Popular designs are often fashioned in lighter colours, so cleaning them properly can make a huge difference long term.


Here at Simple we don't recommend putting your trainers in a washing machine. This can ruin both the fabric and the glue of your shoes as well as cause damage to the drum in your machine.


If you’re wondering what the best way to clean white trainers is, we’ve written an in depth guide on how to keep them a pristine white.

Cleaning Leather Trainers

Wave Off black suede and leather trainers

Leather trainers are an easy way to complete any outfit whether sophisticated or casual. They can seamlessly take you from catching up with a few old friends to doing that awkward brisk walk (basically jog) when you realise you’re about to miss the last bus. Because they are such a flexible wardrobe staple that also means they can end up getting grubby after just a few weeks.


A word of warning; if your leather trainers have panels made of different materials, like the pair in the image above, it’s important to find out if they require different treatment. One method of cleaning trainers of a certain material could end up damaging another.


Looking after Suede trainers

Barney 91 suede boots





As with all trainers, removing the regular build up of dust and dirt on suede is a great way to keep your trainers looking good. The technique to use with suede shoes is to work along the grain with a special suede brush, using a gum eraser on any scuffs.


If the suede is wet or even just damp, always allow it to air-dry naturally away from direct heat.


Our Recommended Steps to Keep Your Trainers Clean


Here are the best ways to protect them and keep them looking as good as new. Just follow these simple steps:


  1. Wipe or tap off any loose dirt on your trainers.


  1. With a clean, soft bristle shoe brush (or an old toothbrush will do), gently brush any remaining dirt from the surface.


  1. If tough spots refuse to shift, use a clean, slightly damp cloth and gently rub away the offending dirt spots.


  1. If your trainers are wet either after your cleaning efforts or maybe the weather changed, then always, no matter the material, leave them to dry naturally. It’s important not to use any heat sources to speed up the process as this can cause damage.


When your trainers pick up more marks and scuffs, repeating the above cleaning regime regularly will limit the damage.


Whether suede or leather, cleaning trainers with wet stains involves buffing them with a soft bristled brush (or old toothbrush) to achieve a nice, rich texture.


If you spill grease or oil on your trainers, then immediately reduce the damage by blotting the stain with a Microfibre cloth to remove as much of the grease as you can.

Long term care for trainers


It’s all well and good cleaning trainers when they need it, but you could actually save yourself the time by learning how to protect trainers from getting stained and dirty in the first place.


There are several types of trainer sprays and trainer cleaning kits around. They work to shield your trainers from staining liquids like red wine, protecting them with a waterproof/resistant layer. Our personal favourite and one that we recommend is the long-lasting spray by Liquiproof that can be applied to all different types of trainers.


The best way to look after your trainers is to regularly apply a suitable water and stain spray protector before you wear them out for the first time, and to do so again after each and every clean.


With these easy ways to maintain your leather, suede or canvas trainers, you won’t find yourself wincing at the thought of ruined trainers every time you find yourself in a messy situation. That worryingly sticky floor at the pub? No problem. The country walk that was slightly more muddy than you anticipated? You’ve got this covered.