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I have never been a shoe person. For years, I’ve kept my collection small, generally only buying one of each style of shoe: one pair of boots, one pair of sneakers, one pair of heels, etc. I replace them only when they become so worn down and full of holes that they become utterly unwearable. But sometimes I love that one pair so much I don't want to let it go; specifically, I have one pair of shoes I have dubbed my “Going Out Shoes,” a pointed tan suede flat with an ankle strap. This is the single pair of shoes I have brought on countless nights out; they have seen the worst of me and the world.
After one night out at a concert, my Going Out Shoes got particularly unsightly, turning from a light tan shade to a crusty, beer-soaked black. Not ready to let these shoes go yet, I sought to find a solution. One “best shoe cleaner” Google search later and enter Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner, the holy grail of shoe cleaning products. A multitude of sneakerhead forums and articles raved about Jason Markk as the end-all solution to keeping their Jordans spotless. Little did I know as I purchased the Essentials Kit (which includes a small bottle of solution and a hog bristle brush) that this would be the beginning of a beautiful (very clean) relationship.
And because seeing is believing, here's what the Going Out Shoes looked like before the treatment.
The cleaning process is simple. Generally, I do it in the bathtub as things do get a little messy, but all you need is a small bowl of lukewarm water, the shoe cleaner, the brush, and a towel. Add a little solution directly to the brush, dip it into the water, and start brushing! The solution turns into a gentle foam and tackles oil, stains, scuffs, and general city grime. The brush is soft enough that the bristles don’t leave scratches on the surface of the material. Finally, you use a towel to dry your shoes and wipe away any remaining dirt.
Truly a miracle worker.
While many people online claim Clorox and Fantastic have similar effects, their ingredients can be harsh and damaging to many fabrics (not to mention the environment). Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner is made from natural soaps derived from coconut and jojoba oils, which are completely biodegradable. The Essentials Kit claims it can clean up to 100 pairs of shoes and works with leather, suede, nylon, canvas, vinyl, rubber, cloth, and more. The Jason Markk product lineup also includes water repellant spray, quick clean wipes, and a dedicated suede cleaning kit.
Since my first life-changing cleansing, I have used this magic cure on pretty much every pair of shoes I own; my pool slides, white sneakers, and leather Chelsea boots have all returned to their former glory right before my eyes. So if you have an equally scary pair of Going Out Shoes, don’t give up on them… just give them a little tender love and some Jason Markk.
Get started with the Jason Markk Essentials Kit, $16, available here.