They say you can tell a lot about a man from his shoes. So if you’re walking around in a pair that look like they’ve spent the weekend being trampled on at Coachella, what does that say about you?
Good news is, once you’re equipped with the best shoe cleaner, keeping your creps looking box-fresh is much easier than you may have thought. Gone are the days when you had to rely on the skills of a professional (although that’s definitely an option for sneakers that look like they can’t be saved). Now you can tidy up your favorite footwear with the help of some clever kit, including soaps, sprays, wipes, and brushes.
But how do you know which shoe cleaner products work? How do you tell the game changers from the imposters? We’ve done some serious digging and rounded up the very best shoe cleaners for all types of shoes. So keep reading for your fast-track ticket to the cleanest kicks in the game.
Type: Foam | Suitable for: All Shoes | Scent: Unknown
From stubborn stains to small scuffs, we’re faced with a plethora of shoe-ruining scenarios that can leave our footwear looking a little worse for wear. Thanks to our favorite shoe cleaner, these hiccups no longer have to ruin your day.
Jason Mark is somewhat of a sneaker-cleaning god. Established in 2007, the brand’s wide range of the best shoe cleaner products are some of the most trusted on the market. And they’re not just effective, but responsible too. The Essential Kit is the perfect all-rounder. It includes an 8 oz. bottle of premium shoe cleaner and a standard brush that can be safely used on any color or material (without using any harsh chemicals or abrasives). A little product goes a long way here—use it correctly, and you’ll be able to rejuvenate up to 200 pairs.
Type: Sponge | Suitable for: All Sneakers | Scent: Unknown
Keeping your best shoes fresh doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We should all be able to walk around in clean kicks without having to break the bank, right? Sole Rubbers certainly seems to think so. Their sole and sneaker cleaner is ideal for those on a budget (or anyone who has a lot of dirty footwear to fix).
Quick, effective, and convenient, the pre-moistened sponge helps you say goodbye to those annoying scuff marks and dirt stains caused by everyday wear. For the best results, simply buff gently; the smoother you swipe, the easier marks come off.
Type: Solution | Suitable for: All Sneakers | Scent: Unknown
There’s only one other person (or, in this case, brand) who has your best interests at heart when it comes to looking after your sneakers—and that’s the guys who made them. Which is why you’re safe in trusting them to come up with the tools to keep them fresh.
Axel Arigato has teamed up with Sneaker
Type: Polish | Suitable for: All Sneakers | Scent: Unknown
There’s no better feeling than putting on a pair of fresh white sneakers for the first time, which is why it hurts so much when they get their first scuffs or marks. To avoid a total meltdown—after you’ve dried your tears and composed yourself—you’re going to want to have one of the best shoe cleaners to hand.
This one from KIWI is formulated with an advanced polymer and whitening agent which helps restore your white sneakers to their original whiteness. It can be used on all leather, vinyl, and canvas active footwear, so it’ll have your favorite kicks looking new again in no time.
Type: Foam | Suitable for: All Sneakers | Scent: Unknown
If you’re enjoying life, there’s no avoiding dirty shoes. Whether you’re hitting your favorite bar or exploring the great outdoors, your footwear is bound to take a good beating every now and again, even if they are made from leather. Which is why it’s handy to grab yourself some shoe cleaner.
Uniform Standard has specially formulated this foam solution which comes without any harmful chemicals. It’s perfect for leather shoes but can be used to clean all sneaker materials, including suede, nubuck, and rubber. Simply work it in with a natural brush and let it absorb. Once complete, rinse and brush until you’re happy with the outcome.
Type: Brush | Suitable for: Suede & Nubuck | Scent: None
No matter how hard you try (or carefully you tread), there’s no avoiding dirty shoes. Unless you keep them in the box without ever wearing them—but where’s the fun in that? You need to enjoy life, so it’s wise to invest in some shoe cleaner products to bring your footwear back to its former glory.
Designed specifically for suede shoes, this shoe cleaner kit will effectively remove stubborn marks, stains, and any other muck that might find its way onto your beloved creps. It’s safe for all suede and nubuck uppers, plus it could even do the job on couches, handbags, and jackets. Basically, it’s the perfect all-rounder that is well worth its modest price tag.
Type: Liquid | Suitable for: All Sneakers | Scent: Unknown
With a drink in hand, you dance the night away at your favorite festival with your closest friends; life couldn’t be sweeter. That’s until you notice the terrible state of your sneakers caused by the endless hours of people trampling over them to get to the loo.
Luckily, even the most soiled sneaks can be saved with a little help from Oliver Campbell. The label’s ‘Refresh’ pack comes with a shoe cleaner, whitener, brush, and new pair of laces. Once you’re done, there’ll be no evidence of you ever stepping foot in a muddy field (apart from the drunk videos on your phone, of course).
Type: Liquid | Suitable for: All Sneakers | Scent: Unknown
Canvas can be a tricky customer to clean. You need something that’s strong enough to remove dirt without leaving any further mess behind. There’s always the washing machine, but that can end up leaving your shoes deformed and a size too small. To avoid such mishaps, your best bet is to invest in a proper shoe cleaner that’s up to the job.
Our pick of the bunch is from Shoe MGK. Their deluxe kit includes three brushes and a microfiber towel, as well as a cleaner and conditioner that’s specifically formulated to clean and prolong the life of all types of sneakers. It can remove grass stains, oil, grease, grime, and much more. You name it, it’ll help make it disappear.
Type: Liquid | Suitable for: All Sneakers | Scent: Unknown
Just because you’re in another continent, that doesn’t mean you should let your sneaker standards slip. In fact, if you want to look your best on holiday, packing a travel shoe cleaning kit is just as important as a pair of swim shorts.
This one from Crep Protect is designed to thoroughly clean over 50 pairs, and it’s suitable for leather, suede, nubuck, and canvas. Packed inside a handy zip-up carry case, you’ll receive a brush, microfiber cloth, and 100ml cleaning solution (which is 98% natural, made from coconut extracts, jojoba, and water).
Type: Wipes | Suitable for: All Shoes | Scent: Unknown
If you’re looking for value and ultimate efficiency, some shoe wipes should definitely be on your shopping list. Small enough to fit into your rucksack (or jacket, if the pockets are big), they offer a quick and easy way to get your footwear back to its best.
Sold in a pack of 30, these from MEZUT will help remove dirt, dust, and annoying spillages. They can be used on leather, suede, and canvas shoes, but you can also wipe away marks on your everyday accessories.
Type: Spray | Suitable for: All Shoes | Scent: Lemongrass
No one wants stinky shoes, but unfortunately, it’s inevitable for some of us. As our feet sweat, they leave behind moisture and bacteria—causing that funky odor only a mother could love. In order to replace those offensive smells with a more pleasant scent, you need to equip yourself with some shoe spray (basically deodorant for your kicks).
The odor remover spray from Defunkify uses essential oils and ionic silver to kiss goodbye to smelly sneakers and fill your nose with the wonderful whiff of lemongrass. Not just for all types of footwear, it can also be used on everything from pet beds to couches and car seats.
Type: Brush | Suitable for: All Shoes | Scent: N/A
A brush is a vital weapon in any shoe-cleaning arsenal—offering the best solution for getting rid of any stubborn dirt that threatens to ruin your beloved sneakers. But how do you go about finding the best on the market? We’re glad you asked.
Jason Markk’s version is hard to beat. It features a handcrafted wooden handle and stiff synthetic bristles, making light work of both grubby midsoles and undersoles. It’s not only the best man for the job, but it’s perfectly sized to fit into your bag or coat pocket.
Type: Cloth | Suitable for: All Shoes | Scent: N/A
While the brush and solution may do most of the hard work, it would all go to waste if you didn’t have a microfibre cloth to finish the job. This one from Adidas is specifically designed to clean your go-to shoes or sneakers.
Soft and non-abrasive, it helps wipe off excess liquid and grime from your footwear—leaving them sparkly clean and ready to impress once more. What sets it apart from others? Thanks to its high absorbency, it can soak up more liquid with less cloth and provides a super quick drying rate.
Type: Spray | Suitable for: All Shoes | Scent: Unknown
Nothing ruins a good night out more than spilling some fancy cocktail on your new pair of designer kicks. Rubbish music sucks, and forgetting your wallet is also pretty annoying too; but that’s what friends are for, right?
To help you out with the former, Crew Protect has just the product. The label’s popular protector spray creates an invisible coating that repels liquids and prevents stains. Even more impressive is the fact it dries quickly and can hold up to two weeks. You can use it on all shoe materials, including leather, suede, and nubuck.
Type: Liquid | Suitable for: Sport Shoes | Scent: Unknown
Golf shoes are every bit as much a part of your success as your swing or choice of clubs. So looking after them is about way more than just looking great in your gear. It helps you preserve a piece of essential equipment that might just be the difference between you improving your handicap or not.
The Boot Buddy 2.0 is here to save the day, and it also makes an excellent gift idea for any avid golfer. Perfect for on-the-go cleaning, the must-have set comes with a hardworking solution, brush, and towel.
What To Look For When Buying The Best Shoe Cleaners
To get the most use out of your shoe cleaner, look for products that can be used on all types of materials. These can include leather, nylon, canvas, and suede. Additionally, you’ll also want to find something that’s safe for all colors.
The last thing you want to do is discolor your favorite footwear. On the other hand, if you do have a specific pair of shoes you want to clean, it can be worth finding shoe cleaner products that are intended for one particular type of shoe.
If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can buy your shoe cleaner products separately. However, you can save time (and often money) by investing in a fully packaged shoe cleaning kit. This way, you’ll get everything you need right away.
Some will only come with travel-sized portions of the solution, so be sure to check how much you want or need.
From foam to liquid and sprays, there are a few different types of shoe cleaners available. Which one you pick depends on personal preference. They will all do the same job (clean your shoes) but can differ in terms of overall finish and the mess you make while cleaning.
As expected, foam will create more of a bubble bath effect, while liquid is more water-based. Sprays are usually a protector that you apply once your footwear is clean.
Dirty suede shoes don’t have to be a lost cause. With the right shoe cleaner products, you can help bring them back to their former self.
Start by using a suede brush to remove excess dirt and grit from the surface. You can then use a rubber or crepe suede brush to help restore the pile.
Stains can be removed using solutions such as Omninettoyant; simply brush gently and leave to dry naturally. While not essential, you can finish the process by using a protection spray.
Homemade shoe cleaner is a cost-effective way to keep your footwear looking its best. It’s super simple to make, and you probably already have everything you need in your cupboards.
Start by using a dry brush to remove loose dirt. If you don’t have a shoebrush, you could use an old toothbrush instead.
To create a cleaning solution, mix warm water with a small amount of mild laundry detergent or dish soap. Use this and your brush to start the process. Take your time, and don’t scrub too hard.
Once satisfied, use a dry microfiber cloth to blot and lift as much soapy moisture and dirt as possible. If you’re happy with the results, leave your shoes to air dry at room temperature.
The ingredients for shoe cleaners are not usually listed, so it can be difficult to say exactly what they are made from. However, some brands will provide general information, such as whether the product is natural or synthetic.
Cleaning solution is usually oil or waxed-based, while many sprays promise not to cause any harmful effects to you or your surroundings.