Although we know it's a gradual process, it often feels like we just wake up one day to find our beautiful stark white sneakers are suddenly gray, dull and streaked with dirt. This is exactly what happened with a pair of white leather kicks from M.Gemi I invested in just last fall.I was determined to get back that shiny bright white leather, without having to shell out for an entirely new pair. So I asked my sneakerhead and type A friends if they had any shoe cleaning products to recommend and the answer was almost unanimous: anything from Jason Markk.
The L.A.-based brand launched in 2007 and since then has developed a devout cult following for its gentle yet effective shoe cleaning products. Almost everyone I talked to raved about Jason Markk's Essentials kit for treating general wear and tear on not just leather sneakers, but sneakers made from pretty much any material (canvas, synthetic mesh, nylon, you name it). However, they also warned I might need to check out multiple retailers in order to find someplace with the kits in stock as the sets are prone to selling out fast.
When the kit did finally land on my doorstep I quickly found it was well worth the hype. It only took a small amount of the foaming Premium Shoe Cleaner and some gentle work with the wood-handled brush to return my leather kicks to their former glory. Even better, the solution left no weird lingering smells or residue. All I had left to do was run my shoelaces through the washer and voilà! I had a "brand new" pair of sneakers once again.
I also used the kit on two pairs of running sneakers that had collected some mud streaks after a few rainy trail runs. Despite the fact that my New Balance and Brooks kicks are made from a significantly different fabric than the M.Gemi pair, the Jason Markk kit worked just as well. That said, per the brand's website, if you're working with delicate fabrics like dyed suede you're better off taking your shoes to a shoe repair shop, cobbler or other shoe-cleaning professional. But for your everyday leather, canvas or synthetic kicks, this kit could just become your new best friend.
Most Jason Markk fans also suggested visiting the brand's website for more in-depth tutorials on exactly how to treat and clean your kicks so you don't end up accidentally brushing too hard or using the solution on fabric that can't handle it. Otherwise, you're only 16 bucks away from feeling like you just bought a whole new sneaker wardrobe.