There’s no doubting the rise and popularity in the sneaker space over the past two years, even amongst the geek community, as was illustrated earlier this week with the upcoming Vans X Marvel collection. With the love of culture continuing to grow, the love for their shoes from the sneaker community also grows. And with that, shoe care becomes an important part of the weekly routine for enthusiasts when it comes to their beloved collection. For the more pricey and rare shoes, this is a must. A few weeks ago, I stumbled across The Sneaker Shack on Instagram and decided to get in touch to experience a behind the scenes look at their processes to keeping our favourites fresh.
One of the first things you’ll notice when entering the doors at The Sneaker Shack (in Bryanston at the Hobart Grove Centre) is the friendliness from staff towards customers. This may seem trivial, but the level of engagement is unique among each customer, each with a different set of needs when they enter the store. You could easily put this down to me receiving specialised treatment but, given that I had observed the same customer engagement with customers there before and after I had been served, I can confirm that same level of friendliness throughout. It’s clear to see that each of the “sneaker-care-technicians” are sneakerheads themselves, taking pride in their work, which translates into how well they look after and care for your sneakers.
The services offered by the team range from the fairly standard, all the way through to more intricate and more complete offering. The most basic cleaning package includes the upper and midsole clean for standard materials. This moves all the way through to the most advanced clean of premium materials, which also includes the cleaning of the under-sole as well as the addition of a protective layer and deodorising of the shoe. Cleaning techniques also vary across the different types of shoes, materials and the options chosen. One of the more interesting techniques being the toilet paper papier-mâché method used to soak up dirt deep inside the fabric, especially on sneakers with white uppers.
- Classic Clean Standard Material R120 – (upper & mid)
- Classic Clean Premium Material R140 – (upper & mid)
- Deep Clean Standard Material R160 – (treating in-set stains)
- Deep Clean Premium Material R180 – (treating in-set stains)
- Red Detail Standard Material R220 – (deep clean, detailed under-sole and deodorising)
- Red Detail Premium Material R260 – (deep clean, detailed under-sole and deodorising)
Having viewed quite a number of sneakers received for cleaning, as well as those having already been cleaned, I could rest easy leaving my pair of adidas Originals NMD_R2 PK with the team knowing it would be in safe hands. For anyone who knows me, I haven’t let anyone clean any of my sneakers – ever! I can imagine that there are others too with such high standards expected when looking after their prized possessions, some of which included designer sneakers from Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Yeezy, and the likes. And the team can manage each of these with ease and class.
One of the more difficult elements to clean on the NMDs are the Boost midsole, which not only has the small grooves as the result of the pebble structure during manufacturing but also the additional grid lines on the foam and EVA elements as well. When receiving my sneakers back, it was the first thing I noticed, how well they had managed to clean in all the grooves. I was pleasantly surprised that the job they did was well done. The team also have a very good booking system in place, allowing you to book your shoes for the clean, after which you’ll receive a confirmation SMS. The SMS includes details of your cleaning options, as well as an expected completion date. A second SMS is then sent when you’re able to collect your cleaned sneakers. The team are able to keep your sneakers locked up for a few days if required, but it’s best to make sure you collect them as soon as conveniently possible.
The cleaning materials used include quite a varied range, including products from SneakerRap, Crep, and Jason Markk, all of which are pretty well-known products in the sneaker community. The Sneaker Shack is also in the works on developing a few products of their own, alongside companies such as SneakerRap, which bodes well for the seriousness of the company going forward. While we’re not currently able to purchase any of the products from the store as yet, this may still be something in the pipeline as the brand grows. With the company set to open up another store in Fourways in the coming months, the evidence of growth is definitely there as South Africans become a force to be reckoned with in terms of sneaker culture and appreciation.
So, if you’re ever in need of a good cleaning service for your premium kicks, be sure to stop by The Sneaker Shack for all your cleaning needs.
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