4 Ways You’re Decreasing The Lifespan Of Your Sneakers

Plus, get your sneaks cleaned for free at MH Residency!

Yamkela Mdaka |

Most of us know the pain of having to throw that favourite pair of sneakers away because of wear and tear. It especially hurts when you feel like they didn’t last as long as they should’ve – but have you ever considered that you might be the one to blame for that?

There are small but consequential things we do that hinder the lifespan of our sneakers. We had a chat with Lolo Ndlovu, the founder of The Sneaker Shack, a thriving laundry service for footwear, and had him tell us what these things are and why they’re harmful to our kicks.


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You’re Using A Washing Machine


They say the best inventors are lazy people, but sometimes it’s all about speed and efficiency with the least effort exerted. This is why a lot of us just throw our sneakers into the washing machine – because it’s easy and quick right? But at what cost?

“Your sneakers are not built for washing machines. The amount of water and the aggressiveness of a washing machine does a lot of damage to the overall lifespan of a sneaker,” Ndlovu warns.

“People will say ‘but I’ve tried it and nothing has happened’, but if you look over a year or longer, your sneakers will have deteriorated a lot more than they should’ve.”

You’re Using Household Detergents


If it works for your clothes, then surely it should work for your sneakers, right? Wrong. Ndlovu says that using regular household detergents to wash your shoes is not the way to go about it.

“Using household detergents like washing powder or bleach to wash or brighten your shoes is not a good idea. There are too many harmful chemicals inside a household detergent that are subtly damaging to your sneakers,” he explains.

“If you wash your shoes at home, then try and find a toxic-free and odour-free kind of detergent.”

You’re Sun-Drying Your Shoes


Again, just because sun-drying works for your clothes, it doesn’t mean that it’s the best idea for your shoes, too. One of the worst things you can do to your shoes is to leave them out in the sun to dry.

“Direct sunlight, especially if shoes are wet or slightly damp, soaks out a lot of the colour of your shoes and can even change their form over time,” Ndlovu says.

“We always recommend drying your shoes indoors. If you need them to dry quicker, try placing a high speed fan next to them – but direct sunlight should never be the answer.”

You’re Wearing Them Too Much


It should go without saying that the more you wear your shoes, the quicker they will wear out. Over and above this – it’s not just an issue of longevity, but also an issue of hygiene. This is especially important when it comes to your work out shoes.

“We always advise that one should have a bit of a shoe rotation system going, especially for hygiene,” Ndlovu says.

He explains that after a full day of being worn, shoes need some ‘dry out’ time mostly for all the moisture to vent out. This dry out period is typically a 24-hour cycle.

“When it comes to gym shoes, you at least want to have two pairs that you can rotate, especially if you work out more than four times a week,” Ndlovu explains.

Related: 7 Reasons You Need To Be At MH Residency

READ MORE ON: Men's Health Residency sneakers style style advice

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