There’s a memorable scene early on in Paid in Full (2002), whereby Mitch, played by Mekhi Phifer, walks in on his younger brother scrubbing away at the heel of his Nike Cortez.
“Alright, now. Let’s see what you’re working with. Come on. Alright. It’s looking good, it’s looking good. Yo, you did this side yet?”
“Nah, it don’t look like you did the sides. Stop lying.”
“Look, first of all, man, you’ve got to get you toothbrush. You ain’t going to be able to keep the white bottom clean without it. Alright. Secondly, man, tuck the laces in. You bugging out!”
“You ain’t give nobody a chance to! God.”
“Give you a chance? You’ve got to do it at the beginning. You’re going to get the shoelaces all wet and dirty. Man, cats going start calling you a poo pot.”
The techniques and products used are perhaps a little bit archaic now considering the advance in sneaker cleaning products, however, one thing that Mitch said that still stands is certainly tuck the laces in, if not take them out completely.