After its initial release in 1982, the popularity of the Nike Air Force 1 has continued to grow into the sneaker icon that it is today. With its classic chunky Air midsole and its signature structure, the minimal Air Force Ones are a streetwear staple.
In terms of colorways, there’s a clear winner when talking about the AF1 – the all-white Nike Air Force 1 silhouette is by far the most sought-after pair of Air Force. With its white leather construction and matching Air midsole, the white Air Force 1s complement any outfit from joggers and a T-shirt to a smart-casual suit.
Though much like with any white Sneakers, keeping them clean is a real challenge and is something that needs careful consideration. When it comes to your favourite pair of shoes it can be hard to know what the best way to restore them to their OG state without compromising the materials or shape.
How should I clean Air Force 1s?
With cleaning hacks, one thing is for sure – always make sure that the information is from a reliable source. Many cleaning methods tend to circulate on social media apps such as TikTok but it’s important to remember that trusted process’ are the best route to go down to maintain quality. From specialised shoe cleaners to easy-to-follow at home techniques, there’s a cleaning process to suit all types of stains and timeframes.
When discussing sneaker cleaning, it’s important to remember that different materials require different treatment to ensure that the shoes remain in good condition after being cleaned. Leather trainers are easier to clean thanks to their specialised coating, whereas soft suede pairs need a bit more care and attention in order to maintain its texture.
If dry mud is the issue you need to tackle, then the best way to get it off is to take a soft bristled brush, like a toothbrush, and start carefully brushing away the debris. When this is done, using a reputable sneaker cleaner is often the perfect way to remove any light stains that mud can leave on lighter-coloured trainers.
More stubborn stains usually take more effort to shift, but don’t panic as there’s plenty of methods to try. One trusted tip is to mix a solution of white vinegar and baking soda with a generous amount of warm water and use a cloth to gently wipe the mixture over the shoes in a dabbing motion followed by wiping to eventually remove all tough stains.
As an alternative to a homemade cleaning solution, a white non-gel toothpaste is also an effective way to remove stains, whilst also helping to reverse scuff marks. To get the best results from this method, wipe down your shoe with a damp cloth first to ensure that no grit can further damage your sneaker’s exterior. Then, using an old toothbrush gently scrub the toothpaste into effected areas until you are satisfied that the condition has improved. Wipe away any excess with a damp cloth to reveal practically brand new Nike Air Force 1. You can repeat this process as many times as needed to achieve the level of fresh that you’re after.
Certain household cleaning products, such as a laundry detergent, can also help to remove any stains thanks to their ability to draw out stains on clothing. Mixing an advised amount of detergent with warm water and applying a light scrubbing motion once the shoes are in the mixture will offer the best results.
If your Air Force 1s are crafted with suede, ensure to use a suede eraser, or any standard household eraser, in order to ensure that the material is not ruined by any solutions that may harm the fabric. If the stains persist, use a small amount of white vinegar or standard suede cleaner to tackle them. Make sure to use little amounts of liquid so that the suede can dry as quick as possible. Leave the Sneakers to air dry after removing all stains and they’ll be ready to wear again in no time.
To effectively clean shoelaces, you can simply place them in the washing machine on a standard cycle and this should remove all the stains and marks. However, to be on the safe side it may be best to place the laces inside of a garment bag to preserve the quality of them. Alternatively, you can soak your shoelaces in a solution of of mild dish soap and water to gently lift any embedded dirt.
Grass stains can be a bit trickier to remove and often require a bit more care when it comes to cleaning. Using a standard leather cleaner can usually help with this issue, but if you don’t have any of that lying around the house then soaking them in white vinegar can help to break down the stubborn stains.
If yellowed leather on white AF1s is the problem you have, then soaking the shoes in a diluted bleach solution can help to restore their original white colour. When doing this, please make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle carefully as different bleaches have different strengths as well as directions of use.
To relieve odour issues, sprinkling a generous amount of baking soda directly onto the insoles of the Sneakers and leaving them in an air tight container overnight will help to draw out the bad smells that are embedded within the shoes. After leaving overnight, shake out as much of the baking soda as possible before popping the AF1s into a garment bag and putting them in the washing machine on a cycle that is appropriate for washing shoes. If you would rather, you can simply wash off the excess powder by thoroughly hand washing them in a bowl of warm soapy water to allow for a more delicate clean.
If you ever feel like you’ve tried every single option when it comes to cleaning your Nike Air Force 1s, try to trust in the cleaning process as sometimes patience is the most crucial part of cleaning your shoes.
These tips and tricks can also be easily transferred when cleaning other Sneakers, such as the well-loved Air Jordan 1 and retro Air Max iterations.
How do I store my Nike Air Force 1s?
To ensure that your Nike Air Force One sneakers remain in top condition when they’re not on your feet, make sure to keep your pairs in a cool dry place such as a wardrobe or shoe rack. Specialised shoe storage is also a great way to store your AF1s if you’re into your trainers. Refrain from leaving your Air Force 1s outside as damp weather can erode the glue used within the shoe’s structure.
Creases are always an issue when it comes down to worn-in sneakers, so investing in some crease shields are the best way to combat this. However, if you’re on a budget and are after a quick fix to protect your shoe’s exterior, putting a balled up pair of socks into the toe of the trainer when you’re not wearing it will also help reduce the amount of creasing that naturally occurs over time.
Making sure to not pile your AF1s in amongst other more weighty shoes is one of the best ways to preserve their looks as the pressure from unorganised storage can often lead to misshapen uppers as well as creased toe boxes. Keeping your shoes organised in their set boxes is one of the easiest ways to avoid damaged sneakers. Simply stack them up wherever there’s space and label them to make them instantly identifiable.
Top Air Force 1 picks
Nike Air Force 1 Low White Black
Crafted with a pebbled white leather base, this Air Force model is accented with contrasting black branded elements. The black sidewall Swoosh is complemented by the two-toned Nike branding that features on the tongue and heel. A classic chunky Air midsole grounds this versatile pair with comfort which allows you to wear this AF1 every day with ease. The perfect mix of both standard colourways, the Nike Air Force 1 Low White Black is an absolute essential for any collection.
Nike Air Force 1 Low Supreme Black
Adding a touch of extra streetwear flair to an otherwise monochrome AF1, the Nike Air Force 1 Low Supreme Black will elevate any outfit. Made with premium black leather overlays, it’s complete with a classic perforated toe box which will keep your feet cool all day long. A mini red and white Supreme motif sits on the side of the shoe which sets it aside from other Air Force models. Topped off with a signature silver lace dubrae, this Supreme x Nike collaboration is not one to be missed.
Nike Air Force 1 Low 07 Lakers
Staying close to the model’s ‘80s basketball roots, the Nike Air Force 1 Low 07 Lakers is laced with added vibrancy to nod to the Laker’s OG team colours. Constructed with a deep purple mid panel and custom branding on the tongue, this special edition of the AF1 was made to commemorate the NBA’s 75th anniversary. If you’re looking for white shoes with a difference then the AF1 Low 07 Lakers is the pair for you.
How to style your Air Force Ones
Clean, classic and undeniably comfortable, all Air Force 1 silhouettes are bound to add a touch of streetwear flair to any of your everyday looks. Sporting stylish versatility, the AF1 is a certified staple for any collection. But if you are struggling to come up with outfit ideas to showcase one of Nike’s most iconic shoes, we have plenty of options.
Comfy and Casual
The Triple White Air Force 1 Lows will always complement any of your favourite lounge sets thanks to its minimal all-white leather makeup and comfort-focused Air technology. Its low-top shape is also perfect for all of your cuffed jogger sets, while the platform-style sole will give any simple look a boost. When it comes to AF1s, any monochrome iteration will elevate your casual off-duty outfits thanks to their recognisable structure and hits of branding.
Make a Sophisticated Statement
To incorporate the Air Force 1 into more sophisticated outfits, pairing them with some straight jeans and your go-to sweatshirt is the easiest way to secure a fashionable fit. AF1s with added detail are often a good choice for this kind of look, such as the Nike Air Force 1 Low White Black or many coveted collaborations.
While incorporating the Air Force One into more formal outfits may be hard to picture, they’re most definitely not impossible. Pairing your favourite AF1 with smart trousers, a shirt and an oversized jacket is a foolproof way of creating the ideal smart-casual fit. If you’re looking to make a statement at a formal event, choosing to wear your favourite pair of Air Force 1’s is a great way to go about it.
However you personally choose to style your Air Force 1s, it’s important to remember that more simple iterations of the Nike classics are essentially a blank canvas when it comes to styling possibilities.
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