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Cleaning your shoes is another one of those little adulting hacks that don’t become important to most of us until later. I know some kids growing up babied their shoes like a cat with kittens, but not me. Our means were quite meager, so in most years, we only got two pairs of shoes: a pair of (dark) tennis shoes and a pair of black dress shoes. We were taught not to abuse our stuff, but there wasn’t an emphasis on doing a lot to it. The most I saw in this regard was my dad and grandfather polishing their oxfords and sending dress clothes to the dry cleaner every so often.
As a result of my upbringing, I developed a special place in my heart for shoes. Over the past 19 years, I have managed to collect over 100 pairs and maintain that collection at around 80 pairs at any given time. However, because “sneaker white” was the only shoe care I really did as a child, I never developed shoe care habits as an adult.
Enter Shoe MGK. Have you seen the
pushy salespeople that bumrush you while you’re minding your business kiosks in the mall? Well, I ended up buying something from one of them. I was flagged down by a gentleman at the Shoe MGK booth who offered to clean my shoes.
What is Shoe MGK?
Shoe MGK was founded by Shawn Wiltshire in 1992 in California. Wiltshire hopped on the heels of the growing sneaker market with the ultimate accessory – shoe care. After selling out local flea markets, he eventually saw shopping mall kiosks as a sustainable model for more permanent retail locations. Eventually, this became the distributorship program we see in malls today.
In addition to the partnerships with sellers in the malls, Shoe MGK sells its products directly via its website, as well as on Amazon. The Shoe MGK website mainly focuses on five core products:
- Cleaner & Conditioner
- Shoe MGK Brush
- Water & Stain Repellent
- Touch-Up White
- Leather Cleaner
These products are mainly sold in various bundles on the company’s site, ranging in price from $39.95 to $79.95. You will also find a pretty impressive library of product education, from demos to guidance on how to clean specific brands and models of shoes.
In the Shoe MGK Amazon store, however, you will find more products, such as the Shoe Freshener and extra varieties of the Shoe MGK brush. Not only will you find more product types, but you will also find more of the products available for individual purchase. Not to mention the prices are 20-30% cheaper overall.
How To Use Shoe MGK Starter Kit
After having my Keds shampooed, I purchased the Shoe MGK Starter Kit, which is one of several available. The Starter Kit comes with one bottle of Shoe Cleaner & Conditioner and one Shoe MGK Brush. Admittedly, I let this kit hide in my closet for at least a year before testing it out.
The instructions say to use the brush to brush off any excess dirt from the shoes. Next, wet the Shoe MGK brush and apply a few drops of Cleaner & Conditioner. I was expecting the cleanser to be thicker and more viscous like shampoo, but instead, it is very liquid. Once the brush has been loaded with the cleaner, scrub it into the shoes, working from bottom to top. You can also soak your shoelaces in a bowl of water with a few drops of the Cleaner & Conditioner. For regular tennis shoes, dry them with a microfiber cloth. For canvas, rinse and air dry out of direct sunlight.
Testing the Shoe MGK Starter Kit
I first tried the process on a pair of grey Puma tennis shoes. These shoes weren’t terribly dirty, but they did have a bit of noticeable dirt in the toe area. I found that the cleaner did a good job of renewing the white bottoms of my shoes. Working to the top, I could see the cleaner foaming in the fabric of the uppers. There was one particular spot that I couldn’t seem to get out, but it went from being very obvious to not so visible to anyone’s naked eye but mine.
The second pair I tried was an older pair of canvas shoes. The shoes weren’t in terrible condition, but they weren’t exactly well cared for either. I repeated the same process as with the first pair of shoes. There were some stains in the whites that Shoe MGK couldn’t fully remove, but there was still a significant difference. Once dry, the uppers were significantly more vibrant than before. The cleaner didn’t pull out any of the dye and the fabric is not stiff or hard as a result.
Is Shoe MGK a scam?
Overall, the product didn’t exactly make a groundbreaking impact on my shoes, but it did make some difference, so I would say it’s legit. I intend on using it on the other shoes in my closet. I may even try their leather care products, but I’ll definitely purchase them on Amazon. So, I give the Shoe MGK Starter Kit a “pretty good.” Perhaps if I clean my shoes more often, I won’t need such a huge miracle.