How to Get White Converse Rubber Outsoles

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Converse are popular athletic shoes with white outer soles.
Converse are popular athletic shoes with white outer soles. (Image: Sneakers image by irum from Fotolia.com)

Converse All Star sneakers, also known as Chuck Taylors, were first produced in 1917 as an athletic shoe for playing basketball. They had a thick rubber sole, which was effective at gripping the basketball court. Originally the sole was black rubber, just like automobile tires. After a few years, Converse switched the outer sole to the more familiar white color. The white rubber portion of your Converse All Star can become dirty through normal wear and develop yellowing over time.

Things You'll Need

  • Melamine foam cleaning pad
  • White wall cleaner
  • Old toothbrush or cotton swabs
  • Rags

Clean off all loose grime and dirt from the shoe soles. Use a wet rag or gently rub an old toothbrush dipped in warm soapy water over the rubber soles. Allow the Converse to dry thoroughly.

Remove stubborn scuff marks off of the white rubber sole using a melamine foam cleansing pad. This type of white, eraser-like sponge is available at most markets in the cleaning section. Rub the pad gently across any markings until they fade.

Spray the outer sole with white wall tire cleaner, which is available at hardware or auto shops. If the portion you are cleaning is narrow or difficult to reach, spray the white wall cleaner into a small container then dip a cotton swab into the cleaner and apply it to all white portions of the rubber outer sole.

Wipe off all the white wall cleaner from the soles using a dry, clean rag. Repeat if necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you cannot find white wall tire cleaner, clean the soles with whitening toothpaste or fabric detergent that does not contain bleach.
  • Washing your Converse in the washing machine may increase yellowing as the glue may bleed. Spot clean the shoes instead to prolong their usability.
  • Bleach may give your soles a white appearance, but in the long-term it will damage the rubber.

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