Sperry Top-Siders Are Awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I love high heels just as much as the next girl (or guy, or transgendered person, or whatever), but I also love me a good pair of flats. Having said that, your feet are bound to get wet, hot and sweaty not to mention your shoes scuffed and worn. And this can become a particular concern if you’re wearing a pair of Sperry Top-Siders, the fashion mark of dockside style.
It’s universally agreed (trust me) that a pair of Sperry shoes is the way to go for dockside summer style.
These here are my husband’s Sperry Shoes.
The pair on the right are nubuck leather and on the left, they are canvas.
Alrighty, let’s clean your Sperry Top-Siders!
For starters, determine what kind of leather your Sperry Top-Siders are made out of:
Full Grain Leather, Suede, Nubuck?
Although they are all leather, they are processed and dyed differently so they’ll require different kinds of treatment.
- Nubuck has a smooth, velvety feel that has been sanded down and scars easily.
- Suede feels like high pile velvet and is more rugged than nubuck
- Leather feels like, you know, leather. Touch your couch and you’ll get the idea.
Leather is very absorbent and relatively delicate so you have to keep on top of the stains to avoid messing up your shoes beyond repair.
* Some Sperry shoes come with embellishments like faux fur, metallic leather and sequins, so these need to be treated carefully as well.
Items You Will Need
Pick up a suede bar & leather brush (a cleaning toothbrush will also work). They are between $5-$10.
I always get annoyed when shoe stores try to sell me the associated accoutrements with my shoes but in this case I’d say it’s worth it. You can’t handle a stain on these shoes otherwise and they really do work.
You’ll also need:
Leather Protective Spray
Toothbrush (if you don’t have a leather brush)
A Clean Cloth
Cleaning Full Grain Leather Sperrys
Follow the directions of the product and remember to never use a detergent as it will dry out the leather and ruin the shoe.
- Apply leather cleaner to a soft cloth and wipe the grime off the surface.
- If you need to get any dirt of debris off the shoe, use a soft bristle brush to loosen the dirt.
- Once that’s done, massage a leather conditioner into the shoe to re-moisten the leather and let them dry for 24 hours.
- To clean the soles, use a cleaning toothbrush and a little bit of soapy water.
- Lay flat to dry for 24 hours.
Cleaning Suede Sperrys
Clean them once dirt or mud is dry.
- Start by gently brushing your shoes to remove any dust, debris or dirt. Always brush in the same direction and do this gently, brush off the dirt but don’t scar the leather. This goes for salt and water stains, scuff marks and caked-on dirt.
- Then, apply some steam (either using a steamer or a kettle) to further loosen any dirt of debris and raise the nap of the steam from about a foot away.
- Re-brush the area with the suede brush to lift the nap.
- Use a suede bar to erase any stains or flattened areas and finish that off by gently brushing the area to lift the nap.
- You can finish off by treating them with a protective spray and let dry for 24 hours.
Cleaning Nubuck Sperrys
Which is again, similar to suede with a finer nap, accept right off the bat that they will look dirtier than other types of leather; they are more susceptible to staining.
- Use the brush to loosen any dirt (and try to use a rubber bristled brush instead of a nylon brush because the nylon brush will show scarring).
- Then, use the suede bar to rub out any stains or marks, you can dampen it to further clean and condition the shoe.
- Re-brush the leather afterward to lift the nap.
- Treat with a leather protective spray.
After Use in Salt Water
Thoroughly rinse with fresh water to remove any remaining salt which will dry and damage the shoe, and leave salt stains.
Then, stuff shoes with newspaper and air dry before wearing again or storage to help keep the shape and absorb moisture.
If possible, dry the removable insole separately.
To Clean the soles of the shoes
Simply clean with a toothbrush and some baking soda, rinse well and the stains should be gone.
Towel dry and be sure not to get any baking soda onto the leather.
Insoles & Smells
I am a huge proponent of foot powder to help eliminate moisture and bad smells, and this is a case where prevention is the best cure.
Want to make your own Food Powder? Watch this video!
Some Sperry shoes have removable insoles. You can’t really wash your leather Topsiders, so take the insole out if you can and rinse under cool water adding a little bit of dish liquid, but vegetable soap or glycerine is preferable since it’s gentler on leather.
Rinse the soles out well and let them air dry, not exposed to any heat to avoid shrivelling.
Replace and make sure you deodorize them often.
These shoes are NOT designed to go into the washing machine, so take good care of them and you’ll have your Sperry shoes last you for years.
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Leave us any comments you may have and thanks for reading!