How to Keep Your Kicks Fresh and Clean with Jason Markk

dirty sneakers
Don’t let dirty shoes ruin your outfit.

For your outfit’s sake, there’s nothing worse than a pair of dirty sneakers. And whether it’s a new pair that got dingy from a music festival or a vintage pair you’ve had since the OG Air Force One days, it’s time to freshen up your footwear with these sneaker cleaning tips, shared exclusively with The Manual by Jason Angsuvarn, founder and president of Jason Markk.

Jason Markk is a line of premium shoe-cleaning solutions for the growing populous of sneakerheads. The brand was born a decade ago from Angsuvarn’s savvy sneaker fabric know-how, and since then he’s been referred to as the world’s most trusted shoe cleaner.

Today, Angsuvarn’s flagship Jason Markk concept store in L.A. is not only a platform for sales, but the only one-stop drop-off sneaker care and cleaning shop in the world. Its clientele includes star Lakers athletes like Jordan Clarkson and Nick Yong (aka Swaggy P), and musicians like Kelly Rowland and Schoolboy Q.

So… we got the dirt on how exactly Angsuvarn keeps kicks so clean, and whether you really can clean stains from suede. (It takes one step you probably aren’t doing.)

Jason Markk Repel
Jason Markk Repel

1. Take preventive measures and use a water and stain repellant on all your shoes. Jason Markk sells a premium water repellant called Repel ($17). It’s water-based as opposed to solvent-based, which are very harsh chemicals that must be sprayed outside. With water-based, you don’t get that harmful experience.
2. Watch the fabric. The hardest stains, by far, are any on canvas (i.e. Vans). That material is a killer because it’s basically cotton fibers that hold stains very well. Also watch the type of stain. More acidic stains like wine or mustard hold quicker and saturate deeper into the material, making them hard to bring up. If you’re wearing canvas and get a stain, you want to treat it quickly, even if you’re out for the day. Get to a restroom stat and get cold water and a paper towel and stat to blot it out. That way when you get home at the end of the day, the stain has been pre-treated.
3. Invest in a soft-bristle brush and dry brush regularly to maintain your suede shoes. Everyone is scared to clean suede, but it’s easy as long as you have the right tech. If you don’t know the proper technique you could end up ruining it. The mistake people make is they treat suede like it’s an all leather shoe- like an Air Force One. They take the brush and soap and rub the suede and let it dry. The nap of the suede then mats down and turns into flat leather before hardening. Then it’s nearly impossible to bring the nap back. The easy, correct technique to treat suede is to apply soap scrub, clean, then take a microfiber towel and absorb as much of the water and soap as you can. Then take a soft-bristle suede brush ($12) to the fabric as it’s drying, reviving the nap.

suede cleaning kit Jason Markk
The Jason Markk Suede Cleaning Kit

4. Give your shoes a quick wipe down with a Quick Wipe on your way out.
5. Drop off your all-white everything sneakers to the Jason Markk L.A. Flagship and let them take care of them. The store itself is three years old and the idea for a drop-off service was born from smaller activations around the world. “I was opening the store and decided, on a whim, to offer this service,” Angsuvarn said. “It has become the star of the store and our customers appreciate how our sneaker experts never try to push products. They just want to revive your kicks. When you pick up your shoes you also get them bagged with a complimentary shoe bag, which is great for travel.”
6. Change your shoelaces. Since laces are close to the ground, they get dingy over time. People will clean the upper, midsole, and everything but the laces, which is always a no-no. You’ll end up with super fresh kicks, but your laces look dingy. People overlook the laces. If you just replace them, it makes a world of difference. It’s the easiest thing you can do to breathe new life into them.

“Clean shoes represents pride in yourself and your outfit,” Angsuvarn adds. “Clean shoes pull everything together.”

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