The average guy’s footwear rotation likely includes a wide variety of different kinds of shoes. There are the special occasion Oxfords, the casual canvas kicks, the beat-up work boots, the crisp white sneakers — the list goes on. But taking care of all of these different kinds of shoes can seem tricky. Suede has different requirements than leather, and mesh and canvas only add to the difficulty.
Fortunately, you don’t need an entire shoeshine stand’s worth of cleaning supplies to take care of your favorite footwear. Everything you really need should be able to fit into a standard shoebox. A pre-assembled shoe cleaning kit is convenient and will have what you need to keep your kicks looking clean. Plus, many of them include travel kits so you can take them on the go.
Here are a few supplies you might expect to see in a shoe kit:
- Cleaning brushes: cleaning brushes in varying stiffness levels can help you loosen and remove dirt.
- Cleaning solution: Liquid solutions can be great for shoes, especially sneakers. Reshoevn8r, Jason Markk and Liquiproof Labs are good examples.
- Microfiber towel: A microfiber towel will allow you to apply solutions and wipe down your footwear without leaving lint.
- Shoe polish: Brown, black and neutral shoe polish are great for boots and dress shoes.
- Suede eraser: A suede eraser is white, allowing you to remove stains from suede without affecting the color the way a pink eraser might.
Most kits don’t actually include every single thing you need, which is why it can be worth having a few different shoe care kits. That’s why we’ve rounded up a variety of shoe care kits for different kinds of footwear, plus some extras you might want to add on.
1. Jason Markk Essential Kit
If you’re looking for an option with just the basics, Jason Markk’s Essential kit has what you need to quickly clean your shoes. There’s a 4 oz liquid cleaning solution and a wood shoe cleaning brush. The liquid solution is made with 98% natural ingredients and is biodegradable.
2. Crep Protect Cure Shoe Cleaning Kit
BEST TRAVEL KIT
Crep Protect’s shoe cleaning kit is a great option for travel. It comes in a convenient zippered pouch that’s easily packable in your duffle bag. There’s a bottle of cleaning solution, which is made from 98% natural ingredients. There’s a hog hair brush and a soft microfiber cloth for removing excess dirt and applying the solution.
3. KIWI Leather Care Kit
BEST FOR DRESS SHOES AND BOOTS
Kiwi has been in the cleaning business for a long time (since 1906, to be exact). They’re still a go-to brand for anyone looking for affordable, no-frills products for cleaning your shoes. This leather care kit includes a tin of black leather polish, brown leather polish, two sponges, a shine brush and a shine cloth. This kit is less for cleaning and more for shining dress shoes and boots.
4. Timberland Dry Cleaning Kit
BEST FOR SUEDE
Timberland’s kit is designed for suede and nubuck shoes. As the name suggests, this kit is designed to be used without water or liquids. The wood-handled brush helps loosen dirt and grime from your shoes, while the white eraser helps remove scuffs and stains. The kit comes in a cardboard box and is made in the USA.
5. Reshoevn8r Shoe Cleaning Kit
For a more comprehensive kit, Reshoevn8r has three different kinds of brushes, plus a microfiber towel and the all-natural shoe cleaning liquid solution. The kit is designed for leather, suede, mesh and canvas. It all comes in a stylishly-designed cardboard box.
6. Wolf Blake Shoe Shine Kit
Looking for a kit that’s the height of luxury? We’ve got you. Wolf’s shoe shine kit costs more than many dress shoes do, but the premium kit will keep your fanciest dress shoes and loafers in tip-top shape. The kit comes with two applicator brushes, two shine brushes, two polishing cloths, and shoe shine in black and brown. It’s all housed in a beautiful leather box.
7. Liquiproof LABS Shoe Care Kit
BEST FOR FREQUENT FLYERS
This kit from Liquiproof Labs is another great option for travel. It includes a cleaning spray, a brush with vegetable fibers, and a microfiber cleaning cloth. The spray is less than 3.4 oz and it comes in a transparent carrying pouch, making this a great kit for air travel.
8. Jason Markk Shoe Cleaning Quick Wipes
BEST ON-THE-GO KIT
This is not a complete kit, but it’s a great option if you need a way to quickly clean your shoes on the go. You can keep these individually wrapped wipes in your backpack, desk or car when you need to quickly clean your shoes on the go. 30 wipes are included, and each wipes has varying texture on the front and back for more versatile performance.
Add Ons To Consider
In the past, we’ve written many guides to cleaning white sneakers and caring for your footwear. Below, you’ll find some of our favorite products for keeping your shoes clean.
1. Nordstrom Cedar Shoe Tree
Cedar shoe trees are essential for any shoe enthusiast. They’re one of the most low-effort ways to keep your shoes keep their shape. All you need to do is slip them into your shoes at the end of the day. Shoe trees come in plastic, too, but cedar is the best option because it absorbs moisture and odors, helping extend the lifespan of leather shoes while fighting odor.
2. Mr. Clean Extra Durable Erasers
Most cleaning kits focus on the uppers of the shoes, which is why Mr. Clean’s magic erasers are a great add-on to any kit. They’re not ideal for leather, suede or canvas, but they’re excellent at cleaning hard, non-porous surfaces like rubber. If your white leather sneakers have dingy-looking sidewalls or your Converse have scuffed toe caps, the Mr. Clean Magic eraser will effortlessly wipe away smudges and dirt.
3. Colgate Extra Clean Full Head Toothbrush
Ready to chuck your used toothbrush into the trash? It’s not useless just yet. A toothbrush can be great for all sorts of cleaning projects, and it’s great for shoes. A toothbrush can be especially handy for canvas shoes. You can make a mix of water, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda or detergent and water and use a toothbrush to clean uppers and even the soles of your shoes.