Most of my friends are astonished when they find out I get most of my shoes from Goodwill. A lot of people expect shoes to be the hardest thing to find second hand, but most of the time, you just need to know how to clean your shoes to have real luck with Goodwill footwear.
I consistently find high-end brands like Nike, Steve Madden, Nine West, and Banana Republic too. Goodwill always has a variety of wild- colored shoes for going out, work shoes, and great high tops and sneakers too! You just need to be persistent to find the right size. Make sure to shop often to find the best shoes. And, more importantly, don’t overlook shoes that are a little dirty. With this tutorial you’ll be able to brighten up those slightly worn-in shoes, and have them looking brand new again.
Here’s what you’ll need:
-Tennis shoes from Goodwill
-Old scrub brush or toothbrush
(This is a common recipe for retrobright, which is a formula a lot of sneakerheads use to brighten their soles. For more information search online for retrobright and read about it!)
First mix about a third of a cup of hydrogen peroxide with about a teaspoon of cornstarch. Put in the microwave for about a minute, or until it begins to thicken like glue. Then add a tablespoon of OxiClean. It will start to fiz a bit, but mix everything together and it’ll be just fine.
Use an old scrub brush to apply this mixture to rubber soles, or the white interior fabric. Note: I’ve only tried this on sneakers and not high-quality leathers or mesh. If you don’t want to ruin your shoes I would either do a test on part of the shoe that you won’t see, or find a cobbler and ask them what they recommend for specialty materials. Luckily Goodwill’s prices are so affordable that you could even buy a second pair of similar shoes to test with and then upcycle that pair too, or donate them back to Goodwill when you’re finished.
Once you have a good layer on your soles, wrap them in plastic wrap to keep the paste from drying out too quickly, and let them sit in the sun for a few hours. You can also let your laces soak in the extra mixture while you wait. They’ll come out white and squeaky-clean.
Unwrap your shoes and use a toothbrush to do a final scrub. Rise off any extra paste, rinse out your shoelaces and let everything dry out. Once your shoes are dry, lace them back up and see how good they look! Super white and practically brand new.
You can see how easy it is to get great designer shoes at Goodwill. It just takes a little scrubbing. You’ll save money and the money you do spend will be invested in programs to help your community. So give it a try, you’ll love your new shoes, and you’ll have them just in time for back to school!