How to clean Adidas Gazelles

& What to use

Cleaning Adidas Gazelles are sometimes a little tricky as we all know the suede reacts differently to normal trainers which can be made from bullhide leather or other synthetic leather.

Before we start cleaning your OG Adidas Gazelles lets look into what they are made form and more importantly how to make it last.

What Is Suede?

If you’re anything like me, it’s possible that the way suede is labeled and marketed has made you think that it’s an entirely different variety of leather (or material altogether!) — something man-made or exotic.

The reality is much simpler: leather is a material made from the hide of any number of animals (cow, sheep, crocodile, etc.), and suede is formed through a process that can be applied to any of those leathers.

Manufacturing leather is a complex process, and different parts of the hide go into making the different kinds of leather — full grain, top grain, bonded, etc. Suede is the softer underside of the hide. Sometimes manufacturers will just flip the hide over, but that creates a stiff material that isn’t generally what you’re going for with suede (though Red Wing does this and calls it “Roughout” leather). Most of the time suede is actually made from a thin middle layer that gets fully cut away from the outer part of the hide. Suede is thinner, more naturally porous (hence being known as a water-sensitive material), and, since it was undercover and protected from the elements when it was part of the animal, not as naturally toughened up as the types of leather taken from the outside of the hide. The result is a napped material that’s softer, lighter, and, more prone to damage.

It should be noted that most suede is made from lamb — while other hides can be used, lamb suits itself best to the process; larger animals create a much shaggier nap, which just doesn’t look as nice.  

What About Nubuck?

If you’ve ever shopped around for suede you’ve likely also encountered the term “nubuck” or “nubuck suede.” Rather than coming from an inner layer of the hide, nubuck is actually full grain leather that’s been sanded/buffed to give it a slight nap. So it looks and feels much like suede, but with two main differences: 1) it’s not quite as soft, and 2) it’s a bit more heavy and durable since it’s the outer part of the hide. This also means it doesn’t quite need the same maintenance (though the below routine can still be followed, just less frequently). When it comes to nubuck vs. true suede it’s not really a question of one of them being better or worse; it’s more about what you’re looking for in the material.

How to Care for Suede and Make It Last

As previously alluded to, suede isn’t as delicate as you may think. Scratches can be buffed away, and a little bit of water or dirt isn’t going to permanently ruin your shoes.

But, it does need to be cared for and maintained, just as your other leathers do, albeit with a different process and set of products. The bristles in the brush in your standard leather care kit are usually a bit large to be working on suede, and you definitely don’t want to be using any polish/cream on the material, nor a wet cloth.

So first, get yourself a suede care kit. Any suede-specific kit will come with a small brush (and sometimes a second brush specifically for maintaining the nap) as well as what’s called a suede eraser (or sometimes suede block). It’s basically a large rubber eraser that removes scuffs. And depending on the kit, you may also get a leather protector in the form of a clear spray.

As soon as you crack open your new suede shoes or belt, give it a spray with the protectant.

From there, use the following routine — once a month or so for irregular use; every 1-2 weeks with regular all-day wear — to regularly care for your suede and make sure that it lasts for years to come:

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Table of Contents

The Brush

Use the bristle brush to clean off any dirt, sediment, etc. Don’t press too hard and scuff the material — it’s more like the pressure of brushing your teeth than washing dishes. You also want to brush in a single direction to keep the nap uniform.

When you brush, it does appear to change the color some, but that’s just the nap fluctuating (just like what happens when you run your hand over a suede or velvety couch).

Bestseller No. 1
Jump Suede & Nubuck Brush (338734)
920 Reviews
Jump Suede & Nubuck Brush (338734)
  • Jump Suede & Nubuck Shoe Boot Brush For All Colours Restore Apperance Of Suede
  • Length approx 15cm
  • Ideal for boots, shoes, bags.
  • Brush is posted loose/unboxed.
  • Double sided brush see image.
Bestseller No. 2
4 Sides Suede Brush, Multifunctional Nubuck Brass and Nylon Bristle Brush, Suede Leather Shoe Boot Cleaning Brush
  • 4 Functional Sides Design: Brush side, dimple side, bristle side, rubbing side, nealy cover all your cleaning shoes needs.
  • High Quality: Made of premium suede and brush, clean your shoes better.
  • Easy to Use: Rough rubber surface removes heavy scuff marks and stains, brass bristles gently groom and clean suede and nubuck.
  • Hanging Hole Design: There is a hanging hole on the top of the funnel and you can hang it on a hook. Space saving and store easily.
  • Widely Used: Clean clothes, shoes, boots, floor, kitchenware, car wheels, etc.
Bestseller No. 3
Kaps Quality Nubuck And Suede Multifunctional 4-Sided Cleaning Shoe Brush, Brass Bristle, Cleans And Gives Perfect Nap
796 Reviews
Kaps Quality Nubuck And Suede Multifunctional 4-Sided Cleaning Shoe Brush, Brass Bristle, Cleans And Gives Perfect Nap
  • EASY TO USE: Handy, easy to use and durable multi-functional brush for nubuck and suede
  • 4 FUNCTIONAL SIDES: brush side, dimple side, bristle side, rubbing side
  • BRASS: The bristle side has brass bristles
  • Rough rubber surface removes heavy scuff marks and stains, brass bristles gently groom and clean suede and nubuck
  • Arched rubber surface cleans rounded edges, thin rubber brush on top cleans grooves and creases difficult to reach. Manufactured in Europe

The Eraser

If there are specific spots or any stains on the material that didn’t come out with the first brushing, use the eraser to gently scrub them off. Again, use a light pressure. The eraser works great for nearly any stain that isn’t grease (more on that below) as well as scuffs and small scratches.

Bestseller No. 1
Sneaky Eraser - premium suede, nubuck and mid sole stain remover cleaner
266 Reviews
Sneaky Eraser - premium suede, nubuck and mid sole stain remover cleaner
  • Easy application
  • Small for carrying
  • For use on suede, nubuck and soles
  • No water needed
  • Small for travel
Bestseller No. 2
Quality Nubuck and Suede Eraser, Stain Remover, Gum Cleaner, Shoes Leather Accessories Car Seats Upholstery, Kaps Block
218 Reviews
Quality Nubuck and Suede Eraser, Stain Remover, Gum Cleaner, Shoes Leather Accessories Car Seats Upholstery, Kaps Block
  • EFFECTIVE CLEANER: Kaps Block removes stains and dirt from nubuck, suede and velour shoes, boots, furniture upholstery, and care seats
  • GENTLE & SAFE: The eraser is gentle and safe, does not damage leather
  • TRADITION & HERITAGE: By Kaps – a family business with over 25 years of experience in shoe accessories and shoe care
  • HOW TO USE: Rub the stain circularly and carefully. Although the block is soft and safe, leather is gentle. Don’t rub too vigorously. Wife off and it should be ready
Bestseller No. 3
Crep Protect Eraser-Suede & Nubuck Shoe Treatments & Polishes, Purple (Purple), One Size
311 Reviews
Crep Protect Eraser-Suede & Nubuck Shoe Treatments & Polishes, Purple (Purple), One Size
  • Quick and easy-to-use gentle eraser for effective cleansing and re-buffing of nubuck and suede leathers.
  • Simply work the rubber into the affected area.

Suede protector spray

If there are specific spots or any stains on the material that didn’t come out with the first brushing, use the eraser to gently scrub them off. Again, use a light pressure. The eraser works great for nearly any stain that isn’t grease (more on that below) as well as scuffs and small scratches.

Bestseller No. 1
Nikwax Nubuck and Suede Spray x 125ml. Transparent
  • Waterproofs nubuck and suede footwear
  • Maintains breathability, support and texture
  • Quick and easy to apply to wet items
  • WaterBased, non-flammable and fluorocarbon-free
Bestseller No. 2
Crep Protect Unisex Adults Rain and Stain Protect Spray, Multicolored (Multicolored), 200 ml
  • 200ml super-hydrophobic spray that creates an invisible coating which repels liquids and prevents stains
  • For use on suede, nubuck and canvas footwear
  • Crep Protect is easy to apply and quick drying
  • Apply 2 coats for best results
Bestseller No. 3
New Punch Boot Shoe Spray Water Resist Protector Leather Suede UGG Sheepskin #150300
  • Repels Water & Stains
  • 200ml
  • Provides a layer of protection from Rain and Stains
  • Simply spray onto your shoes or fabric, leave for a few minutes and job done
  • Suitable for Suede, Nubuk, Sheepskin, Leather and canvas

How to clean Adidas Gazzelles

Known for their brightly colored suede lining and iconic Adidas striping, Adidas Gazelle sneakers offer a unique blend of performance and style. If you own a pair of Gazelles, however, you know that their soft suede exterior can be tricky to clean and maintain. With a few tips on how to properly clean and protect your classic kicks, your Adidas Gazelles will stay looking and smelling fresh for years to come!

Step 1: Dip the brush in water

Start by Preparing your shoes for cleaning by brushing away excess dirt, removing the shoelaces, and stuffing your shoes with newspaper or a shoe tree to protect their shape.

Using s gentle brushing motions to clear away dirt. You can wash your laces either by hand or by placing them in a mesh laundry bag in a washing machine.

Step 2: Pour cleaner over the wet bristles

Cleaning your trainers is difficult without any form of liquid, but with dyed suede, too much water and the colour will leak giving you a nasty washed out looking suede, making look worse than you started.

Using as little water as you can  apply a cleaning Agent like Pink Miracle, Jason Markk or even Crep Protect.

Step 3. Scrub the shoes. No need to be gentle; this brush isn't harsh

As long as your using a Hog hair Brush (soft to medium)

Focus on Patches of your trainers rather than just spot or dirty areas. Doing so will leave you will patchy marks on the suede.

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Step 4. Dip the cloth in water

As previously mentioned you don’t want you shoes too be too wet.

We recommend using a Lightly colours or natural colour micro faber cloth, to absorb as much of the dirt and moisture on the trainers after scrubbing.

Step 5. Wipe the shoes down with the wet cloth

Gently Wipe the Trainers dry, making sure any dirty bubbles are absorbed.

At this stage we recommend being gentle to firm, apply too much pressure will mark the suede as your pushing the fibers in opposite directions. 

Step 6: Allow to dry

Keeping the News Paper or Shoe Tree’s installed. Allow to dry in a well ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

Leaving you shoes in direct sunlight allows the UV Rays to Naturally Bleach the Suede leaving patches or a washed out look.