Dirty sneakers had their moment, and, well, the moment’s over. The early ’00s saw slightly worn-out sneakers make a statement, and people actually used them for that street effect, whatever that was. But in 2022, we love a squeaky clean shoe. The rise of streetwear culture in India and in the world has put sneakers in a limelight that won’t be taken away from them any time soon. From copping limited-edition pieces to sneaker-cleaning services, the market is catering to the footwear in ways we’ve never seen before.

Superkicks houses a South Africa-based brand named Sneaker LAB, which is one such company that produces elevated sneaker care products. Trusted brands like Reshoevn8r and Jason Markk, which offer a complete range of sneaker cleaning as well as sneaker care products, are now available in India via Capsul. Apart from shoe cleaning solutions and kits, products like quick wipes, suede cleaning kit, repel spray, shoe trees, and sole shields are also available in the product range by these brands.

Discussing some hacks to clean sneakers, Abdon Lepcha, creative director at Fila India, explains, “Sneakers come in different materials and compositions. If one has the know-how of the technicalities of different materials, then I suggest cleaning on your own, or else give it to the shoe cleaning specialists. Some easy DIYs: Leather can be wiped with soft wet fabric dipped in water and a light washing detergent; suede can be cleaned with an eraser, which is used to erase pencil marks.”

The do’s and don’ts are quite basic. “Be gentle, don’t go rough on sneakers that feature delicate materials such as suede, felt, or any other fabric. It is also a myththat putting your sneakers in the washing machine will clean them thoroughly. We highly recommend using the various sneaker care products and cleaning them by hand. Sneaker laundries are your best bet. There are various ones open all around the country, and they specialise in caring for and cleaning all kinds of sneakers,” suggests Sangeet Paryani, founder of Superkicks, which retails premium sneakers in India.

Bhavisha Dave and Meenakshi Singh, founders of Capsul, add, “Most premium shoe care products are safe to use on all materials including leather, suede, nubuck, canvas, vinyl, rubber, cloth, etc. We recommend that you test in an inconspicuous area first. When cleaning premium leather, suede, nubuck, cotton mesh and other delicate materials, take extra care and be gentle. For suedes, to avoid any incident of colour bleed, use the Suede Dry Cleaning Kit.”

Discussing the care treatment that luxury sneakers need, Dave and Singh explain, “First things first, stain-proof your sneakers before you start wearing them. So essentially, as soon as you buy your sneakers, spray them with the water and stain repellent that provides ultimate protection for your shoes from hydro stains. You can also spray the Repel on your sneakers after giving them a thorough clean to prevent any water-based stains from spoiling them. The Repel product is fast drying, and can be used on almost any material to protect against liquid and stains (not recommended for patent leather). “Keep a couple of quick wipes in your bag to wipe off any dirt/stains as soon as they stain. For deeper cleaning, use a cleaning solution, which has 100% all-natural formula and is safe to use on most of the high-end luxury sneakers.”

Reshoevn8r and Jason Markk’s cleaning solutions are compatible with Jordan, Nike, Supreme, DC, Adidas, Puma, New Balance, Saucony, Balenciaga, Yeezy slides, Yeezy 350 v2, Air Force 1, 599, Speed trainer, Skechers, Vans, Converse All Star, Chuck Taylor, Kobe, Air Max, Air Max 1, Air Max 2, Air Max 27, Air Max 90, Air Max, 97, Jordan 1, Jordan 3, Jordan 4, Vapormax, Ultraboost, NMD, Superstar, Off-White, Huarache, Timberlands, Reebok, Asics, Moonrock. This is how you can extend the life of your favourite pair of kicks.