Whether you’re looking to revive your white canvas Vans or your favorite Jordans, the best sneaker cleaners can help. When shopping for the right shoe cleaner, consider the effectiveness of the formula (as reported by past buyers), the materials it can be used on, and the application process. It’s important to choose your sneaker cleaner carefully — the wrong product could end up damaging your shoes even further.
For the shoe-cleaning category, it’s helpful to start with the ratings and reviews. After all, you can’t really do a spot-test before purchasing — but if a shoe cleaner has, say, more than 5,000 reviews and an overall rating of 4.5 stars, it probably works in most instances without damage. You’ll also need to make sure to check that the formula is compatible with your intended pair of sneakers, as certain materials just don’t mix with certain chemicals. For example, suede and nubuck can be especially delicate, so it’s important to pick a cleaner that won’t cause additional damage. The cloth of white canvas sneakers can turn yellow when cleaned with certain bleach formulas, and athletic shoes often require a stronger cleaner (or more of it) due to their scuffs, stains, and crevices.
Last but not least: Consider your preferred application process. Beyond brush-on and liquid applicators, you can also snag travel-friendly wipes. No matter what type you prefer, keep reading to find the best sneaker cleaner for your favorite pair of kicks.
1. The Best Sneaker Cleaner For Most Shoes
Safe to use on: Most materials, including canvas, cloth, leather, nubuck, nylon, rubber, suede, and vinyl
If you’re looking to clean multiple pairs of shoes, the Jason Markk shoe cleaner set is the way to go. The formula is 98.3% natural, completely biodegradable, and safe to use on a wide range of materials. It also comes with a cleaning brush to help you buff away the most stubborn stains. (For extremely delicate materials like suede and premium leather, the brand recommends their softer, gentler brush.) Last but not least, since a little goes a long way, the 4-ounce bottle can last you up to 100 cleanings.
One reviewer wrote: “This works wonders on everything I have used it on. Honestly, I was looking for the standard suede cleaner that you find at a pharmacy and stumbled across this. The life-span of my sneakers have doubled. The product use is a cinch. The price is great in relation to the outcome.”
2. The Best Sneaker Cleaner For White Shoes
Safe to use on: Canvas, leather, and vinyl
Sometimes white sneakers require some additional TLC. Luckily, KIWI’s shoe cleaner and whitener is specifically designed for that purpose. That’s because it’s made with a polymer and whitening agent that both cleans and covers — without yellowing, streaking, or leaving behind a residue. It includes an applicator sponge to apply the formula, and reviewers have successfully used this cleaner to brighten up their white canvas slip-ons and leather shoes.
One reviewer wrote: “I wish I would have taken a picture of our daughter’s white Vans before and after. REMARKABLE!! They look brand new!! Works better than OxyClean, Dawn dish soap, or any of the other remedies we tried on white sneakers.”
3. The Best Cleaner For Athletic Shoes
Safe to use on: Most athletic shoe materials
Athletic shoes typically take a beating — plus they often have deeper grooves and additional detailing that often result in trapped dirt. Sof Sole shoe cleaner is designed for athletic shoes due to its powerful, instant foam formula and built-in scrub cab that helps to remove stubborn spots. Together, these features lift stains and help your sneakers to look new again, all with minimal effort on your part. While the manufacturer doesn’t specify the exact materials this cleaner can be used on, it should be safe to use on any sneakers made with performance materials. (But skip this product if your shoes happen to have delicate materials, such as suede details.)
One reviewer wrote: “I’ve tried several different cleaning products for my Nike and Jordans and Sof Sole is by far the most effective one. […] No fading, no smearing no removing paint. Just spray on, let it seep in and scrub. It made all of my shoes look brand new. I cleaned about 15 pairs of shoes before I started to run low.”
4. The Most Travel-Friendly Option
Safe to use on: Most materials, including canvas, leather, mesh, nubuck, suede, and various knits
If you always want your shoes to look like new, these Sneaker Lab sneaker wipes are the most travel-friendly option around. Each package comes with 12 individually wrapped, single-use wipes that remove dirt, stains, and discoloration without any additional tools. Since the formula is made without soaps or harsh chemicals, the wipes are biodegradable and safe for both you and the environment. There are two versions of the wipes available: all-purpose sneaker wipes and leather sneaker wipes (the latter of which conditions the leather as it cleans).
One reviewer wrote: “I’m an active dog walker in NYC , needless to say my sneakers go to hell and back everyday! This is the ONLY wipe that actually works! Trust me I’ve tried multiple brands before! I especially love the fact that they are travel friendly and individually packed so that I can pull one out whenever the need arrives!”