I am no seasoned sneakerhead, but a recent closet-cleaning session forced me to acknowledge that I do have a propensity to collect white or light-colored sneakers. I like how crisp they make every outfit look, especially when they're sparklingly clean and un-scuffed. That's a bit of a problem, though, because if there's one thing that New York City streets do to clean sneakers, it's sully them. And as someone who aspires to leave a minimal mark on the environment through my fashion consumption, I don't want to just get rid of white shoes as soon as they're not spotless.
Enter Jason Markk's Essential Shoe Cleaning Kit, which I've had sitting in the bottom of my closet so long that I don't remember where I got it (was it a freebie at an event? something I snagged from our office's giveaway pile? I'm at a loss). After lazily putting off using it for months, I finally whipped out the cleaner and brush over the weekend to attend to the lightest-colored sneakers in my collection. It really freaked me out to take a brush and water to some of my shoes at first because I was sure I was going to ruin materials like suede or leather. But the brush and cleaning solution turned out to be pretty foolproof. Half an hour later, I was so pleased with the results on the three pairs of shoes I had started on that I added more to the cleaning lineup.
To be fair, this stuff isn't magic, and my more heavily soiled sneakers certainly don't look brand-new after using it. But they do look significantly better than they did before. And what's more, my newer shoes that had just a few scuffs here or there really do look freshly purchased, post-scrub. With more regular cleanings, I'm hoping I can keep them that way for a long time.
Jason Markk Essential Shoe Cleaning Kit, $16, available at Need Supply Co.
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