Shit happens, and it usually materializes under, against, or over your sneakers. And when it does, you’re going to want to have one or more of the best sneaker cleaners handy.
It may not always be the traces left behind by man’s best friend, but accumulating gunk on your gym sneakers, tennis shoes, skate shoes, basketball shoes—hell, even your boots and dress shoes—is inevitable. There’s no avoiding it, no matter how cautious you may be. You’re outdoors. You’re living your life. And your kicks are there to help you with that, and thusly take a good beating in the process. Therefore, it’d be smart to purchase some tools, chief among them being a sneaker cleaner (which, yes, also works for lace-ups and other more formal styles).
Going to a cobbler is always a good idea, especially if your sneaker has been seriously damaged or discolored. But for stuff you can handle yourself—the usual suspects being dirty water, coffee stains, liquor stains, scuff marks, and the overall pollution in the atmosphere—there are myriad products that’ll do the trick. Of course, not all are alike: depending on the material of your sneaker, some cleaners are better than others. And we have rounded up the best of them, all ready to give your kicks the TLC they deserve.
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Mr. Clean, the single hoop-wearing bald mascot with a smile that melts hearts, has been the face of, well, cleaning for very, very long time. He’s the man who’s there when you’re scrubbing your kitchen floor, your bathroom faucet, and, with this Magic Eraser, your Air Force 1s.
It’s safe to say that many of you own a white sneaker or two. If you don’t, jump on the bandwagon already and check out some of the very best right here. And you’re also going to want to reach for Kiwi’s shoe whitener, because yellowing, regrettably, is inevitable without maintenance.
Cowboys, wranglers, and anyone who owns a fine pair of western boots are probably familiar with Fiebing’s; the company has been kicking around since 1895, offering soaps for saddles, bags, and all kinds of leather goods. And if it can get the grime off the stuff stationed on a ranch, imagine the wonders it can do for your leather sneakers.
If you have a leather sneaker in a color—it could be any color, really—you’re going to want to know about Tarrago. The brand offers up cream jars in 99 different hues, all of them made with carnauba wax and beeswax that cleans, nourishes, improves shine, and, most important, maintains the dye. The only thing you have to do is pick the one that matches your shoes.
Tide’s stain remover has been a life-changer for those prone to stains. It’s pen-like design and potent solution removes stains—from drips of BBQ sauce to puddle water to bird crap—anywhere and everywhere effectively. It’s a great solution for canvas shoes, especially.
If you’re the kind of guy who tends to spill drinks left and right, you’re going to want to invest in portable sneaker cleaners. And one of the best around is from Crep Protect. Its wipes, for instance, each have a rough side for tough stains and a smooth one for the occasional—or perhaps frequent—drops of white wine.
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Sneaker Lab strives to be as eco-friendly as possible. Which is why the brand’s sneaker wipes utilize a cleaning technology that’ll continue to clean your sneakers after the initial rub. It is also completely biodegradable and devoid of harsh chemicals.
Need your shoes cleaned really fast? Like, in an instant? This pre-moistened, easy-to-handle, and, above all, durable sponge from SneakErasers will do just that. Its basically a wipe on steroids, and perfect for removing gunk from your sneakers.
With a moniker like CleanKicks, best believe that the brand is going to offer up the goods. This guy, for example, is a bin of dual-textured wipes—pre-soaked in premium, skin-safe solution—that’ll scrub dirt off stat. CleanKicks is so sure of the effectiveness of its product that it offers a 100 percent money-back guarantee.
X’s foaming, solvent-free cleanser doesn’t just mark the spot, but will it remove altogether. What’s more, the natural formula made of coconut and sugar will have your kicks smelling as sweet as they look.
Don’t think your beat-up sneakers have died just yet, because ShoeAnew has something that could, well, breath new life into them. The brand’s sneaker cleaner kit—complete with a nylon brush, microfiber cloth, and 8oz. water-based solution—will resurrect you kicks from the sneaker graveyard.
Are your sneakers looking worse for wear—especially after the past two years? Well, you could get your hands on a new pair, or you could reach for Angelus’s cleaning kit. Its foam solution is great on delicate materials and is most effective on suede surfaces, steadily removing stains with every swipe of the durable brush that the brand provides.
Whites, regrettably, won’t stay pristine after prolonged wear. But here to stop the ravages of time (and nights taking shots of Maker’s Mark) is Liquiproof LABS, a brand that offers an effective spray cleaner, comprised of an enzyme-rich solution, that draws pollutants to the surface and conditions your white sneakers in the process.
Gold Standard certainly lives up to its name. The brand’s wipes, offered in a box of 24 individual packs, will remove dirt and debris on the upper (it’s very effective on leather surfaces) and rubber soles with a few scrubs. So, if you’re on the move, and want to keep your sneakers shiny, make sure you have a packet or two in your back pocket.
Jason Markk’s shoe cleaner is an Amazon best-seller for good reason. It’s an eco-friendly, biodegradable, foamy solution, particularly noted for its ability to penetrate stains on heavy-duty materials like leather and rubber, along with having a sweet, fruity scent.
Are you a fan of nubuck sneakers? Do you have a collection of ’em that you wear in rotation? If the answer if yes to both, you’re probably already aware of Synovia, a brand that offers a set that includes and aerosol cleaning solution, protector, and bristly brush that’ll polish up nubuck and suede surfaces.
Pink Miracle, a company that’s been around since the mid-’80s, has been offering the kinds of concentrated formulas that only require a few drops to have your sneakers looking as good as new. It’s the real deal, and OG sneakerheads will attest to that.
Whether it is leather, suede, or nubuck, Reshoevn8r’s solution will clean your sneakers with absolutely no fuss. Many even attest that it has performed miracles, easily removing stains that others couldn’t budge. And it does it with a natural formula, derived from coconut and jojoba oil, that also doesn’t leave behind pesky residue.
Saphir in name alone sounds like it should be the crème de la crème of sneaker cleaners. And the fact that it’s actually a potent cream-based conditioner only help matters. Just rub a few dabs of the solution with a dry rag, and, as its name suggests, it’ll restore your leather sneakers like none other.
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Deadstock Los Angeles’s kit has all the tools you need to keep your sneakers in tip-top shape. The set includes a bowl, two shoe trees, four brushes with different bristles, a microfiber towel, and, of course, 8 ounces of expert-recommended shoe cleaner. It’s perfect for newbie sneaker collectors who are just getting the hang of shoe maintenance.
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