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5 Best Shoe Cleaners: Sneakers, Leather, Running, Hiking

5 Best Shoe Cleaners: Sneakers, Leather, Running, Hiking

From dress shoes to hiking boots, footwear is an investment. Take care of your investment with the best shoe cleaners to buy. Best of all, many shoes cleaner today are made from all-natural materials, and some are even often sold in sustainable packaging. That means you can keep your footwear looking spiffy without harming the environment.

But the best shoe cleaners are about more than just aesthetics. Shoes in fact, are likely covered in bacteria, causing them to smell, but also possibly making you, or someone in your household, sick. Don’t wait any longer. No matter what your shoes are made from, and no matter how dirty they are, there is a cleaner in this article for you. So just keep reading. 

Our Top Picks

Scan over each shoe cleaner we reviewed.

X-Sneaker-Cleaning-KitBest Overall: X Sneaker Cleaning Kit.
All-natural, the best shoe cleaners come with an all-purpose brush.
Sneaker Lab Shoe Cleaner KitBest Tennis Shoes Cleaner: Sneaker Lab Shoe Cleaner Kit.
To keep tennis shoes and sneakers clean, we like the environmentally-friendly shoe cleaning kit from Sneaker Lab.
Jason-Markk-Essential-Shoe-Care-KitBest Leather Shoe Cleaner: Jason Markk Essential Shoe Care Kit.
With no abrasive harsh chemicals, Jason Markk makes the best leather shoe cleaner to buy.
Nikwax-Footwear-Cleaning-GelBest Hiking Shoes Cleaner: Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel.
Formulated to retain water repellency, Nikwax gel is the best cleaner for hiking boots and shoes.
ShoeAnew-Cleaner-KitBest Running Sneakers Cleaner: ShoeAnew Cleaner Kit.
Sold with a brush and cloth, ShoeAnew is safe on most fabrics.
 

A Closer Look: The Best Shoe Cleaners

Lace ’em up. Here’s a closer look at the best shoe cleaners available.

1. X Sneaker Cleaning Kit

The best shoe cleaner overall

X Sneaker Cleaning Kit

Brand: X | Brush Included: Yes | Ingredients: All Natural | Suitable For: Suede, Nubuck, Mesh, Flyknit, Leather, Vinyl, Canvas | Price: 💰💰💰💰

Made from an all-natural sugar and coconut-based formula, the best shoe cleaner is suitable for all sorts of materials, including suede and nubuck, but also vinyl and canvas. It’s sold with an all-purpose brush with boar bristles and a wooden handle. And with foaming, waterless application, the cleaner leaves shoes and laces shiny and new.

A great whitener and stain remover, the X Sneaker cleaning kit effectively cleans up shoes suffering daily dirt and wear, based on feedback. And just the right amount of foam is applied for spot cleaning, while the brush is perfect for getting into all the grooves. The X Sneaker cleaning kit may not be the best choice for tough grass stains, we found out, but according to one user, it made their beat-up sneakers look almost brand new.

  • Comes with what you need
  • Leather looks like new
  • Convenient to use
  • Better than soap and water? Debatable, some say.
  • Seems to “spread” dirtiness, some say.
Our e-label identifies eco-friendly products and brands. Learn more

2. Sneaker LAB Shoe Cleaner Kit

The best tennis shoes cleaner

Sneaker Lab Shoe Cleaner Kit

Brand: Sneaker LAB | Brush Included: Yes | Ingredients: All Natural | Suitable For: Suede, Leather, Nubuck, Canvas, Mesh, Knits | Price: 💰💰💰

Pee-eww, what’s the smell? To keep your tennis shoes looking — and smelling — brand new, we like the shoe cleaner kit from Sneaker Lab. This all-natural cleaner is environmentally friendly and biodegradable, using bacteria to break down dirt for a long-lasting clean. And nicely, the bottle itself is made from recyclable HDPE plastic. That’s while the brush itself is made from both recyclable bamboo and recyclable synthetic polymer bristles.

Safe on almost all material shoes can be made from, the bristles on the brush are soft, but tough enough to tackle stains. Not only did the shoe cleaner leave white adidas and a pair for Jordan 9 Barons looking brand new, we found out it also leaves a nice woody smell. Best of all, proceeds from all Sneaker LAB sales support Gold Youth, an NPO working with disadvantaged youth in Southern Africa.

  • For those who just love to have clean sneakers
  • Revives even the dirtiest sneakers
  • Easy to travel with
  • Just as good as other gentle cleaners
  • Maybe not the best on pink suede
Our e-label identifies eco-friendly products and brands. Learn more

3. Jason Markk Essential Shoe Care Kit

The best leather shoe cleaner

Jason Markk Essential Shoe Care Kit

Brand: Jason Markk | Brush Included: Yes | Ingredients: 98.3% Natural/Biodegradable | Suitable For: All Materials | Price: 💰💰💰💰

Leather shoes often take some extra TLC to keep nice, and the Jason Markk essential shoe care kit is up for the challenge. Made from almost completely natural and biodegradable ingredients, the Jason Markk is free from harsh chemicals and abrasives, and safe to use on all materials, including leather.

The kit comes complete with a brush made from a wooden handle and synthetic bristles, and the solution works particularly well removing dirt from the midsole area. The kit was especially effective on a pair of leather ballet flats, and it even left white leather shoes looking like new. Based on feedback, it’s also a good choice for suede.

  • Brush best on rubber and plastic soles
  • Some bad luck with stained leather

4. Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel

The best hiking shoes cleaner

Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel

Brand: Nikwax | Brush Included: No | Ingredients: Water Based | Suitable For: Suede, Nubuck, Smooth-Finish Leathers, Gore-Tex or SympaTex | Price: 💰💰

You hit the trail hard and occasionally your hiking boots, shoes, or even sandals show the abuse. Keep them clean with the water-based cleaning gel from Nikwax. As well as cleaning your outdoor footwear, the gel revives breathability in the materials and fabrics boots are often made from, including Gore-Tex, but also Symatex and even leather. 

Those who’ve cleaned their hiking boots with Nikwax call it as easy as 1-2-3, with a simple- to-use cleaning gel applicator. It’s powerful enough to tackle up to six months of grime and dirt, based on feedback. It even worked well on a pair that were frequently exposed to muddy, dusty, and wet conditions. Nikwax is also good on leather, we learned, while remaining gentle enough for a pair of soft-suede ECCOS.

  • Works well on shoes besides hiking boots
  • Makes shoes look nearly brand new
  • Gentle on fabric and waterproofing
  • Toothbrush and water “pre-cleaning” sometimes necessary
  • Top sponge applicator durability issues

5. ShoeAnew Cleaner Kit

The best running sneakers cleaner

ShoeAnew Cleaner Kit

Brand: ShoeAnew | Brush Included: Yes | Ingredients: All Natural | Suitable For: All | Price: 💰💰💰💰

To keep your running sneakers lookin’ fresh, we like the cleaner kit from ShoeAnew. This all-natural cleaner is sold with a brush and cloth, and although it’s safe on all fabrics, it works especially well on the fabrics running sneakers are made from. That includes jogging shoes like the adidas Alphabounce, but a pair of white and black running shoes were also left in like-new condition, we learned.

Otherwise, fans of the product report no strong scents. Others use the kit on all kinds of different footwear, including flats, sandals, and dress shoes. And since a little goes a long way, it usually takes no more than spray-scrub-wipe to get the job done. Based on feedback, the cleaner even did the trick on a pair of white mesh adidas.

  • Worked well on pair of UGGs
  • Get soles sparkling clean
  • Removes surface stains
  • Better than soap and water? Questionable.
  • Spray bottle could work better

Our Process

For this guide on the best shoe cleaners, our team spent 5 hours researching the most popular options from 25 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about 125 user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each shoe cleaner. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 5 shoe cleaners on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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Further Reading

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Best Walking Shoes for Men with Flat Feet
Best Hiking Shoes for Women
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Best Climbing Shoes
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Best Shoes for Jumping Rope
Best Shoes for Jumping Rope
Best Water Shoes for Hiking
Top Picks: Water Shoes for Hiking
Best Squatting Shoes
Best Squatting Shoes