These Shoe Care Essentials Will Keep Your Footwear Looking Fresh Forever

Step up your game.

by Sophia Moore
A woman in a brown sweater, blue denim jeans, and white footwear that looks fresh

Summer is flying by into autumn faster than we know it, which means the inevitable is on the way: a change in seasonal wardrobes. But transitioning into autumn not only means swapping out our favorite tanks and tees for sweaters and scarves, but also storing summer sandals and opting for more practical booties and fall footwear. Knowing how to clean your shoes as they’re put into storage and protecting your autumn footwear for the season is an important practice to put into play during this time. Cleaning and repairing with shoe care essentials is one way to guarantee a longer lifespan for your footwear, no matter its color or fabric.

Of course, washing your sneakers, boots, and sandals sometimes seems like an impossible task if you don’t know where to start. Luckily, there are a variety of products available to lengthen the lifespan of your favorite styles and to protect them through the next season.

“There are a wide-range of elements to consider that factor into the longevity of footwear,” says Mike Gold, the product designer manager of shoe care brand SOL3, tells TZR. “It is important to take into account both the physical appearance, such as creasing and dirt on sneakers, as well as intangibles you can’t see, like odor.”

Extending the lifespan of your shoes not only means keeping them clean and odor-free, but also taking preventative measures to keep them looking flawless before anything happens to them. For example? A step you can take to protect your favorite shoes from unsightly lines forming is inserting a crease guard into the toe of the shoe. “This is by far one of the easiest and most efficient ways you can dramatically improve a shoe’s lifespan,” Gold says.

Mordechai Hoffmann, the founder of Red Moose Shoe Care, also tells TZR about the importance of consistent, quality shoe maintenance to keep your kicks in good shape. “Be it a weekly polishing or cleaning to applying the water repellent spray every couple of months, these are crucial to extending the life of your footwear,” he emphasizes.

The material and age of your shoes also play a role in how to take care of them, says Hoffmann, with products like cream polishes being better for restoring leather and water repellant sprays working best for nubuck and suede shoes. When it comes to shoe care, though, there are a few staple basics that can (and should) be used on any type of footwear to maintain their look. “Start with the basics, the simple cleaners, and liquid polishes,” he suggests. “Then work your way up to more technical products and techniques to get the perfect clean and polish.”

Depending on the type of shoe you’re looking to give a little extra love to, there are a myriad of products to assist you. Ahead, find a small sampler of highly-rated shoe care products from Amazon that are here to extend the lifespan of all your favorite footwear from one season to the next.

We at TZR only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Recommended by Gold, these guards are the answer to your sneaker creasing problems. They’re made of a durable and long-lasting plastic that will help your shoes keep their shape easily and comfortably. The guards in this pack of two indicate which guard goes in the left and right shoe to avoid confusion and maximize comfort. The inserts work for all-day wear or season-long storage, so you never have to worry about your trainers losing their crisp and clean look.

“I was skeptical at first but they actually work like a charm and aren't to invasive although you can certainly tell they're in there,” one shopper on Amazon said. “A good purchase to keep creases out of your new shoes. Just make sure you match the L and R to the appropriate shoe.”

With over 1,000 five-star reviews, these silicone foot cushion inserts help minimize blisters and reduce pressure on your forefoot. These pads are great for heels, dress shoes, flats, sandals, and more to keep you going for longtime wear. Plus, the cushions in this multi-pack are reusable so they’ll last from season to season.

One shopper noted the movability and added support of the pads: “These are great. Just a little more cushion without changing the fit of the shoe. They aren't super sticky, so you can move them as needed.” Another customer recommended using these pads in specific silhouettes: “I find they've worked better for me in heels or sneakers. I wear some very flat ballet shoes and needed thicker ones for a little more support. But overall great and for the price, you cannot go wrong! Easy to clean and change shoes if needed.”

Full sole inserts, like these Float On Air insoles from Dr. Scholl’s, provide lasting comfort and additional support. If your favorite autumn boots have worn down over time, try using foam inserts to revitalize their wear and keep your heel and arch supported. And, because they’re made of soft foam, you can trim these insoles to fit any pair of shoes that need some extra oomph.

“Quite comfy! I needed better cushion in my name brand slip-on canvas shoes, and these fit the bill perfectly,” one reviewer on Amazon wrote. “They are actually better than when the shoes were new! Unlike some insoles, they are not at all bulky, which make the shoes fit weird. These are thin, but very cushiony.”

If you’re looking to give your favorite sneakers a facelift, this Shoe Cleaner Kit from Reshoevn8r will help you get the job done. “There's nothing to dislike about this product,” one buyer wrote. “I had a pair of white sneakers that weren't dirty, more dingy looking. I paid a nice piece for them and I wasn't going to put them in the wash. This product was right on time!!! It had my shoes looking the way I bought them.”

The Cleaner Kit includes sneaker wipes, a natural shoe cleaning solution and conditioner, and a bristle brush to scrub out those tough stains. With almost 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this kit will help keep any shoes, from canvas to suede, in good shape.

Gear Aid’s Revivex Shoe Care Kit is fit for deep cleaning sessions on your autumn boots and fabric shoes. It comes equipped with a liquid cleaner, water repellant, a brush, and special eraser designed to rid suede and fabric shoes of stains. And you can use it to both refresh and protect your boots for the coming season. “I used these on many of the shoes in my closet, most specifically my Uggs. They are about 10 years old, and after applying the cleaner they have never looked so good. I'm a complete fan,” one buyer commented. “Try this before you get rid of shoes that may look dusty and worn. It just may do this trick.”

When it comes to prepping your shoes for damper environments, Reshoevn8r’s Water Repellant Spray is an all-rounder champion for summer and winter kicks. It’s safe for most materials, including canvas, suede, and nubuck, and protects shoes for four to six weeks with proper application.

One Amazon buyer noted how well this product protected their shoes: “I'm so happy with this product, I looked for hours on an anti-stain and water resistant spray for my white Nike court low and most people said other brands turned them a tint of yellow so I decided to try this one,” they said. “I did one thin coat, waited a few mins, and did another thin coat and not only are my shoes protected, it gave them a sort of gloss that looks amazing. And they never turned yellow. Super easy to use and now I don't have to check every five mins to see if there is something on them.”

One product that can make a huge difference in revitalizing the look of your shoes are laces. These flat replacement laces from Miscly are neutral and have different length options to ensure a perfect match with your shoes. From the over 3,200 five-star reviews, one Amazon buyer wrote: “The quality of the laces is perfect. Looks like it is tightly knit. I replaced the shoelaces I had with these and they look like they came with my shoe. Make sure you measure. I thought all laces were same size, glad I measured.”

For autumn boots that have dulled in storage, this Premium Boot and Shoe Cream Polish from Red Moose is the key to bringing them back to life. The cream aims to restore lost color while also cleaning and preserving the upper of your kicks, especially against any winter weather damage they may have experienced. Plus, Red Moose offers the polish in nine different colors to fill any cracks in leather boots that may have formed over time.

One Amazon shopper spoke to the cream’s ability to restore seasonal shoes: “About a year ago I purchased some grey boots — for walking, snow whatever — and at first the elements did not seem to affect them. This fall/winter, however, the wet, snow, mud seemed to really affect the leather and I was afraid that leaving them unpolished — or replenished would leave me without my good set of boots. So, I purchased this jar of grey polish,” they said. “It is the difference in night and day. The boots are restored, shined up nicely, and the leather looks healthy and new again. Also the softness and flexibility of the leather is restored. Really glad I purchased it!”

When your favorite leather boots are out of storage and in need of extra care, turn to this Stone and Clark 12-Piece Polish and Care Kit. The full set includes two types of wooden brushes, three colors of wax polish, shine sponges, a buffing cloth, and a shoe horn. Designed as an on-the-go kit, this set is portable and capable of spot cleaning leather shoes or fully restoring them back to their original luster.

One buyer noted the ease of use with this kit: “I have never polished a pair of shoes in my life and I did this in about 5 minutes using this kit. I was convinced it would be more difficult than this.” Another shopper commented on the portable nature of the set: “Wow, this kit is one of the best things I've ever gotten on Amazon. Amazing quality for that price. It is also well-organized, easy to use, and perfect to keep in the car.”

Trusted shoe care brand Kiwi has a lot of useful products for refreshing your shoes, but the Kiwi Shoe Whitener is a top-tier spray to restore the original brightness of white shoes. While this product isn’t a cleaner, when used in tandem with a shoe cleaning routine, it’s able to whiten your kicks with its polymer and whitening agent formula.

“This product works miracles,” one shopper wrote, “my poor Vans became dirty, so I cleaned them and made the intelligent decision to use peroxide and put them in the sun to dry. Even with the yellowing and deep stains, this product brought them back to their bright dazzling glory and it looks decently brand new. Love it!!!! Also this is sort of like a paint rather than an actual cleaner, so always make sure you clean your shoes then apply it.”

If extended wear has weathered and dulled the soles of your shoes, try using this Sole Bright Sneaker Sole Restorer from Angelus. The product works by removing oxidation to reverse any yellowing that has occurred on the soles of your shoes.

One buyer on Amazon wrote about the product’s effectiveness on a dirty pair of Vans: “I needed something to whiten the soles because soap and scrubbing only got me so far. I picked this up after some research online and I will be getting more when I run out. I absolutely love the turn out and couldn't be happier!!! This was after 2 applications, applying a medium coat with a toothbrush, covering in plastic wrap and leaving in the sun to work the magic!”