How to Whiten Yellow Soles on Sneakers

After two years of consistent use, my Rothy’s lace-up sneakers were looking a little worse for wear. The uppers have been easy enough to clean with a quick cycle through the washing machine. However, the soles were getting the dreaded onset of a yellow hue that persisted through the wash.

This is a very common occurrence on white sneakers due to oxidation, which happens naturally over time. And while scrubbing the soles can get rid of regular dirt and grime, unfortunately, it does nothing for the yellowing of soles.

I decided give Angelus Sole Bright a try, after searching around on several shoe forums for different solutions. It’s a small bottle that goes a long way – I ended up using less than half. 

It’s simple enough to use:

  • Step 1: Washed my Rothy’s and scrubbed the soles to make sure all the surface dirt was gone.
  • Step 2: Wearing gloves, I liberally applied the Sole Bright solution around the exterior of the sole. If you have leather sneakers or are worried about fabric discoloration, you can use painters tape to protect the upper. Since my sneakers were white, I didn’t have to worry about that.
  • Step 3: Placed cling wrap around the shoe, to make sure that the solution would stay wet for the next few hours.
  • Step 4: Set the shoe outside in full sun – the Sole Bright solution requires UV in order to work. After 2 hours, I rotated the shoe so all sights could get equal exposure. 
  • Step 5: After about 5 hours total in the afternoon sun, I wiped off the solution and cleaned with water. And that’s it!

Verdict

This does exactly what it says – it removes the yellowing from the sole with the appropriate application and process (UV rays are key). As you can see in the comparison photo, the shoe is noticeably whiter – even moreso in person than in this photo. To me, it’s worth the ~$5 – $10 to extend the lifespan of these sneakers.

Left: Treated; Right: Untreated

I may actually give these a second go-around just to get them extra bright. If you have icy (transparent) soles, you’ll likely have to do several treatments to get the same results.

The only downside is that this won’t work on non-oxidation related stains. As you can see, I have a small purple mark from stepping on a berry. Alas, that one is here to stay!

Partnership Disclosure: This blog post was not sponsored by any of the brands listed above. As always, all opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links, in which I earn a commission on purchases.

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I'm Kristy, a growth marketer based in not-so-sunny San Francisco ⛅ This is my personal blog, where you will find my random musings, in-depth reviews, and latest sewing endeavors.

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