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Thrifted shoes! How to buy, clean and wear 2nd hand kicks!


So I know the thought of buying a used pair of shoes might seem, well gross but I am here to take the icky out of it! And honestly one huge plus with previously own shoes is that they are already broken in!

People buy used shoes all the time on Ebay and Poshmark without thicking twice but for some reason the idea of grabbing a second hand shoes from a thrift store is a no. And I get it, thrift stores already seem a little grimy and then add the fact that someone else's stinky feet where all up in those can seem gross. 

Let me tell you from can buy and wear thrifting kicks without catching the plague! Here are some simple tips & tricks for spotting shoes worth buying and how to clean them!

(not the shoes I needed up purchasing)

ALWAYS check the bottom for wear. Its the first thing I look for. If the treads are rubbed down to nothing then those shoes have expired! A little wear is fine, I mean hello they are previously owned, but just keep in mind the more wear the soles have the more they are been on someone else's feet. 

Once they have passed the wear test, I then examine the inside, especially the insole. If the insole is dirty or worn down then PASS. Again, they aren't going to be brand new looking (unless you found a donated pair of brand new shoes, which then SCORE!), but they should look like someone walked around barefoot in the dirt and then put the shoes on haha.

Ok so now the soles look good, the insoles look good...the last thing I look for is any permanent stains on the outside, like if bleach or dye were dropped on them or sharpie marks. Most other marks and stains can be washed off in my experience.

Alright! So now you have a pair of shoes that pass all the tests! You bought them and now you can't wait to wear them! Well here is how you can get them so fresh and so clean clean!


Here is what you are going to need:

Baking soda

A plastic bag

Dish soap

A tooth brush

Washing Machine and detergent 

Step one: Sprinkle baking soda in them, make sure the insole is completely covered. Tie them up in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer over night. 

Step two: Tap out the baking soda. If there are and dirty spots, stains or marks on the body of the shoe or the soles mix some baking soda and dish soap with some warm water in a dish (you want in pretty soapy).  For cleaning the cloth part use a toothbrush and in small circular motions scrub the stain. 
If you are just cleaning the soles then I like to add some more baking soda to the water and you can scrub much harder. 

Step three: Remove the laces and throw them in the wash with detergent. I usually do a warm/cold cycle.


Step four: Stuff with microfiber towels, and stuff them in a way that helps them keep their form. Then place them in front of a fan or if it is warm and sunny out leave them outside to dry. 

Step five: Once they have almost completely air dried, toss then in the dryer with A clean towel. It will help dry up the remaining moisture and help soften them up from the air drying. 

Step six (optional): Replace the laces. 

Boom! That's it! Now you have some awesome (new to you) shoes for a fraction of the price! 

I love not spending money but I especially love to thrift for my Disneybound outfits and being able to include shoes in that is such a great way to save money! 



  • Going to try this on a pair of shoes I thrifted yesterday! Thank you!

  • So good! I’m going to use this to clean my own dirty converse and maybe go buy some more too!

    Jennifer Trevino
  • I love thrifting – this will definitely help clean up a few pairs of shoes I’ve purchased (for me and my kiddos!)

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  • This is awesome! Thanks so much for the step by step – this is definitely gonna come in handy!!


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