May 19, 2018 | By Nicole McLennan
Active brands continue to challenge what we wear and how we wear it. Sneakers are at the forefront, making an impact on the formal and casual footwear markets. But increasingly we are seeing luxury services influencing the sport world when it comes to cost, material, colour, design and care. As sneaker trends continue to dominate both men’s and women’s footwear markets, we see sneaker cleaning products increase dramatically. No matter the occasion, everyone wants their kicks to look fresh all year round.
On a trip to Tokyo back in May 2017 I was surprised to see how many brands are focusing on this market. Specialised cleaning brands are seizing the popularity of the sneaker, offering fragrant sprays, protectors, polishes, pens, brushes, sponges, shampoos and creams. Luxury packs and unique products are designed to fit in with his or her lifestyle, ideal for sneaker heads to prune their latest designs from the comfort of their own home. Walk in services are also on the rise, elevating traditional shoe cleaning stands, for a more modern approach.
WGSN Editor Dan Bisson takes you through the top 5 cleaning brands, adding a touch of class to the sneaker markets right now!
1. Jason Markk
Located in LA’s Little Tokyo district and know for his bespoke sneaker care services, Jason Markk has brought a touch of formal luxury to the sneaker market. The world’s first drop off sneaker service offers an experience via the sneaker care technicians. Preserving the sneakers for as long a possible is key and so the service retains the consumers brand loyalty. What was once just for formal markets has now adapted to the active world.
2. Sneaker LAB
Sneaker Lab’s shoe care products are designed to protect and clean up your kicks. The premium products are environmentally friendly and the packaging can be recycled, adding sustainable qualities for the brand. The brands biological cleaning and protector technology focus on enhancing the wearers individuality, whilst preserving the designs for longer. Collaborations with Puma, Lacoste and New Balance highlight the brands stance on sneaker care and brand value. Sneaker heads will stay brand loyal if they know their sneakers will look fresh for longer.
3. Crep Protect
Crepe Protects ‘Fresh isn’t just a state of mind – it’s a lifestyle ethos, and perfectly highlights the brand’s vision on the active market. Tapping into sneaker culture and how you are perceived within the sneaker world, Crepe’s products offer a protective layer to prevent your latest designs from being stained. Specialised products come in the form of sprays, wipes and ‘pills’ (a pill that you twist and insert into your sneakers, removing odours), adding comfort for the foot.
The Glasgow based team brings many years of sneaker experience to its cleaners, protectors, dyes & paints, glues and pens. Each item is designed to refurb and recover new and old designs, using industry professional experts to form the brands resourceful products. A variety of kits and packages are featured on the website, targeting various leather, synthetic, textile and rubber surfaces complete with cleaning instructions.
Based in Tokyo, retaW is renowned for its fragrant scents for not only sneakers but also hair, body, rooms and fabrics. Japanese footwear is always carefully crafted adding a touch of luxury and innovation from toe to heel so its no surprise that the brand prides itself on developing ‘the utmost care and sophistication to soothe your body and soul by creating a relaxing and natural atmosphere’. RetaW’s anti-bacterial sprays are designed to expand high performance and everyday smells, offering skin friendly scents to your body.
Specialist companies continue to develop cleaning products and provide unique services to the sneaker world. Foot health and comfort continue to be at the forefront of many footwear brands design aesthetics and will only increase for sneakers but also footwear markets. The fact that activewear is gradually tapping into formal applications and value markets is a key sign that things are changing.
Preserving your sneakers is an essential ritual for many sneaker heads and what you pay for them is even more important. These features increase the value of the brand, adding to the wearers loyalty and customer experience. Its time to up your foot health game.
For more insight and trend directions on lifestyle and performance sneakers check out WGSN’s footwear category updates, inspiration and emerging trends reports.
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