How to Care for Canvas Sneaks: A Few Expert Tips

Timeless as they may be, a pair of canvas sneakers presents a bit of a paradox: They’re forever in style but they sure are hard to wear for, well, ever. Canvas shows age and with the frequency we wear ours that can happen way sooner than we’d like. We chatted with our friend, Chris Cottle at Vans, who could be considered a bit of an expert seeing as he’s surrounded by canvas shoes all day long. He did a little sleuthing and shared a few personal care tips. Tip numero uno? You’re gonna want to bookmark this post.

  1. After each wear, spot treat any stains or dirt on the soles with a magic eraser or even just a damp cloth. When treating discoloration across the sole, a mixture of baking soda and water or lemon juice can be applied. Using an old toothbrush scrub away at the sole. (Also, baking soda and water, when mixed into a thick paste, are great at reviving discolored white canvas.)
  2. Remove general dirt on the canvas by shaking them off outside after wear—this will help you avoid build-up. If there’s any moisture or mud caked on, wait until the shoes are completely dry and remove with a toothbrush or shoe brush.
  3. Fight hard-set stains with a commercial stain remover. Spot-treat the area and let it dry for a few minutes before throwing in the wash.
  4. Deep clean your shoes by throwing them in the washing machine in a pillowcase. Include heavier items (like towels) in the load—this will help protect both your machine and the sneaks.
  5. Air dry them away from direct sunlight and direct heat.

And there you have it, friends, a few ways to get extra mileage out of those canvas sneakers (because, you’re going to need as much as you can get, of course).

Psst: We’ve got just the pair(s) to kickstart your new care habits, including exclusive Madewell x Vans styles. Check out the entire sneaker collection here