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I remember when I got my first sneakers dirty as a kid, I'd use a kitchen scrub sponge to wipe the dirt off. Using that sponge came with a consequence, rubbing too hard would scuff up my shoes which broke my heart, but it got the dirt off which is what mattered to me at the time. Shoe cleanliness is still important to me today — my mother taught me to take care of things as soon as I learned how to spell out my ABCs. Throughout middle school my shoe-cleaning methods evolved to using toothbrushes, mild dishwashing soap, and at times, patting baby powder on a pair of all-white Air Force 1s. Like any good sneakerhead knows, you've got to keep your collection clean.
In 2020, times are no different. People still want their sneakers to be clean, and since sneaker culture has gone mainstream, things have only become more expensive. So instead of using harsh chemical products and materials that damage our sneakers, we've been blessed with a more gentle way to get rid of that scum on our shoes thanks to Jason Markk, the man who changed it all. Using a nonabrasive formula, Markk created a line of sneaker cleaning products that are tough on rubber soles but also gentle on suede materials.
"If you’re into sneakers, you can’t just walk out of the house in beat-up shoes. They’ve got to be fresh," said Jason Mark Angsurvan in a 2017 interview with the LA Times.
What started off as a purely grassroots movement blew up into something he would’ve never imagined. Only a few years into the business, Jason Markk opened up the first-ever sneaker drop-off service shop in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo neighborhood. Since then, the product has been carried by famed brick and mortars like KITH, Undefeated, and the former French boutique Colette.
From a pair of Timberland Black 1922 boots to adidas’ Black & White Crazy BYW sneakers, Jason Markk can tackle dirt off just about any silhouette. Cleaning sneakers used to require multiple products and procedures, but this lineup just made the entire process much safer and easier — extending the life of your shoes. For example: for those Timbs, you only need a brush, eraser, cleanser, and microfiber towel. You’ll use the premium brush to dust off any loose dirt from the nubuck upper and prevent any stains from happening while you're cleaning. The suede eraser works wonders when it comes to removing any stains from the material. Although nubuck is tougher suede, it requires only a small amount of the liquid. The Ready-To-Use Foam is perfect for the boots when applied directly to the material and used with the premium brush. After cleaning, blot off as much moisture as you can with the brand’s microfiber towel and then let the shoes dry overnight. Once they're dry, it's as if they’ve never been touched or stepped on by bystanders.
We live in an age of convenience and accessibility, and fortunately for us sneakerheads, Markk caters to the community. Instead of having to lug around a bottle of cleaning solution and a brush to clean our sneakers in case your brunch meals falls on your Vans, their Quick Wipes will do the trick. It won’t take up space in your backpack, but it will remove any dirt, avocado, or ketchup residue in just seconds. The dual-textured wipe is built with a non-toxic formula that is designed to keep your kicks fresh on the go without the hassle. It’s like magic in a pocket that comes with me whenever I go on a weekend trip or even to my 9-5.
The sneaker community gets a bad rap because of the greed that exists. Having an extensive collection of the hottest sneakers is often praised by many, but it’s raised the concern of sustainability and how much damage it’s causing to the planet. I’ve found that taking proper care of my sneakers is perhaps one way I’m doing my due diligence to keep the planet safe and my consumption low. By doing so, it's helped with not wanting to overly consume and "buy buy buy" if I see one of my pairs are a bit dirty. That’s one of the reasons why I like Jason Markk products so much because they're made with natural, biodegradable ingredients that will not only prevent damaging your shoes, but also keep from harming the environment.