Refurbish your sneakers to save $3,991

Choosing sneakers

Ever wondered why so many sneakers are white? It’s a strange choice for something that will be in close contact with dirt. Unless you are selling them. I stopped buying white shoes a long time ago, and now buy only ‘earth’ colors. Recently I have been buying Merrell ‘stretch’ shoes that allow you to just step into them. No laces and no need to bend over or sit down when putting them on. Of course I get them at the lowest price I can before and after the purchase.

Time to clean them
Dirty sneakers. Merrell stretch shoes. Clean your sneakers
Not too dirty, but not OK to wear in public

So either you’ve had them awhile, or you ‘stepped in something’ on the homestead. I am pretty good about wearing dedicated shoes for dirty jobs or hiking. But inevitable they do get dirty. I have seen people use washing machines, but that’s more wear and tear on them than I like. Instead I have a pretty simple way to clean them.

Step 1. Spray with Shout

Spray and let sit ten minutes.

Dirty sneakers. Merrell stretch shoes. Clean your sneakers
1/2 done spraying with shout
Step 2. Soak in laundry detergent upside down

I use about the volume of two grapes of concentrated unscented liquid All detergent. We have a utility sink in our laundry that’s perfect for the job. I use warm water and let the soap mix while the water is being added. Then put the shoes in upside down, push them down to remove air and let them soak for 3 hours. It’s good to just give time for the water and detergent to do their job. If the shoes are very dirty, repeat this step. For the pics here, I repeated. I also lightly scrub the sides of the soles with a scrub sponge.

Washing shoes to be frugal
Step 3. Rinse extensively and drain by gravity
Cleaning Merrell sneakers

After soaking, rinse with warm water to get the detergent out and remove the dirty water and then set them on the side to drain for 30 minutes.

Step 4. Dry
After drying next to the pellet stove. DW approved, and ready to hit the pub.

To have them dry quickly and avoid them getting a musty odor, I either put them outside in the sun during the summer when it’s over 80F, or by our pellet stove in the winter which is about 76F. They should dry quickly. Congrats, you’ve extended the working life of your favorite shoes.

Why bother?

Let’s calculate our long term savings. Amazon lists stretch Merrell shoes for $100. Let’s assume we need a new pair every year if we don’t wash them, and every two years if we do. So we would save $100 every other year, for 30 years. So the first $100 we save is at the start of the second year and it compounds for 29 years. If we invest in low cost index funds with a 50/50 ratio of stocks to bonds we can expect a 6% return (8.3% – 2.3% inflation). Over a 30 year period we save $3,991 in today’s dollars.

There’s an easier way?

But if I just buy $50 shoes I can save even more. Yes, but you’ll be wearing cheap shoes, and I’m a fan of quality clothing on the path to FI.

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