How to Identify & Care for Vintage Converse

Try our tips to keep those Chucks looking stylish and fresh.

Published February 27, 2023
Young female lying in new beige sneaker son cozy comfortable living room sofa putting feet on pillows and resting and relaxing

There's one brand of shoes that's always a fit, no matter what you're wearing (even a prom dress). Converse are classic for a reason, and you can find some beautiful vintage Converse styles. It's important to know how to identify whether the shoes are really vintage and how to take care of them so they preserve their value.

How Do You Tell Vintage Converse From Modern Ones?

Flip your shoes over and take a good look at the logo on the heel. If your Converse are actually vintage (pre-2008), they may have a registered trademark symbol just below the star on the logo. Other signs of a genuine pair of vintage Converse include the following:

  • Name label - Vintage Converse often have a label on the tongue of the shoe where the owner could fill in their name.
  • Toe cap - Chuck Taylors have a rubber toe cap, whether they are new or vintage. Older ones tend to have smaller toe caps.
  • Eyelets - Converse shoes have eyelet vents on the sides near the sole, but these are spaced far apart on vintage shoes and closer together on new ones.
  • Piping - The contrasting piping near the sole of Converse is wider on vintage shoes.

How to Clean Vintage Converse High Tops and Other Styles

Do not, we repeat, do not throw your vintage Converse in the washing machine. The company says that machine washing even the new shoes can damage them, and vintage styles are more delicate. Here's the best way to get them looking fresh again.

Quick Tip

Before you jump in with both feet (so to speak), always test clean a less obvious part of the shoe. We recommend the tongue or the inside of the upper near the heel.

1. Use Only Mild Soap and Water

Choose a mild laundry soap like Woolite to wash your vintage Converse. Don't submerge the shoes in water. Instead, use a soft cloth to get canvas or leather Converse wet and apply soapy water to the shoe. Scrub gently to avoid damaging the material.

2. Rinse Without Soaking

Too much water can damage vintage shoes, so try to rinse them quickly with minimal soaking. You can quickly put them under the tap or use a cloth soaked with fresh water to dab off the soap and grime.

3. Dry With Paper Towels

To dry your shoes, stuff them with paper towels. Change the paper towels frequently, at least a couple times per day, to avoid the shoes getting musty. Do not use any type of heat, such as a clothes dryer or hair dryer.

Quick Tip

If your vintage Converse are made of suede, don't use water. Instead, use a suede brush.

How to Remove Odor From Old Converse

If your vintage shoes are smelling a little less than fresh, you can create a simple deodorant powder with things you already have around the house. Mix equal parts baking soda and cornstarch and fill a pair of socks with the powder. Put the socks inside your Converse and leave them for a few days. Vacuum out any excess powder when you're done.

Tips for Storing Vintage Tennis Shoes

Athletic shoes like Converse take some special consideration for storage. Because they're made of a mix of materials and tend to get used a lot, they need to breathe but also stay dry. These tips can help you keep them looking great.

Use Cardboard Shoe Boxes

Your shoes need air circulation to stay fresh, so avoid storing them in plastic bins or boxes. Instead, go for cardboard, especially acid-free boxes if you can find them. Stuff the shoes with acid-free tissue paper to maintain the shape and place them loosely in the box.

Keep Them Dry

If your shoes are at all damp from cleaning or wear, wait for them to dry before storing them. Keep them in a closet or room that isn't too humid (not near the bathroom or in the basement if possible) and stays a pretty constant temperature.

Display Vintage Converse Behind Glass

If you want to show off your vintage shoes as a display, use a glass-front cabinet or armoire to keep them clean. This will keep dust from settling on your Chucks and discoloring them.

Shoes That Never Go Out of Style

Scoring a great pair of vintage Chuck Taylors or other Converse is just about as great as it gets. These shoes never go out of style, so with proper care, you can wear them for years and years to come.

How to Identify & Care for Vintage Converse