Soon after it launched in 2007, Jason Markk established itself as the world’s most trusted brand in premium shoe care. Founded by entrepreneur and sneakerhead Jason Mark Angsuvarn in Los Angeles, the first product introduced was the Premium Shoe Cleaner – a natural, biodegradable solution to safely clean sneakers. In the last 15 years, the brand has gone on to release a full line of protective and restorative products including Quick Wipes, Suede Cleaning Kit, Repel Spray, RTU Foam and Insoles to name a few.
Whether reviving old favourites or preserving your latest buy, Jason Markk is confident that it has the solution for each and every step. Seeing this confidence as a challenge, the LN-CC studio team took three of the season’s hottest footwear releases for a walk through mud, puddles and worse. After 1017 Alyx 9SM’s Mono-Sole Chelsea Boots, Acne Studios’ Patchwork Ankle Boots and Nike’s Air Force 1 Fontanka sneakers were suitably covered, we challenged Jason Markk’s Geoffrey Yam to work his magic and share the secrets behind his shoe shamanism.
Could you introduce yourself, what do you do and why do you it?
Hi, my name is Geoffrey and I work for Jason Markk, looking after the Marketing side of things for the brand over here in the UK and Europe. I do this job because I love footwear. I love rocking fresh kicks that go with fresh garms, trainers specifically, but the older I get the more I’m expanding my horizon in other fields of footwear. Most importantly, I’m a bit of a collector/hoarder, so I want to make sure that my footwear is well looked after so they last longer, as you all know it’s getting harder and harder to attain limited releases and after the release date, it’s near impossible to ever get another pair later on down the line for its retail price!
What sparked your love for sneakers? When did you first get into sneakers?
My love for trainers started from being at school, seeing all my classmates rocking the latest footwear every non-school uniform day made me a little envious, I wasn’t privileged enough to have this kind of luxury at my young age, my Dad specifically would not ever entertain the idea of me spending silly amounts of money on footwear that I would grow out of in a space of a few months. Being raised by asian parents meant you get that one pair of trainers to do PE in, then use the same pair of trainers to go out in and then 1 pair of school shoes, that was it and if they didn’t last a whole year, then I would have to wear my school shoes to PE and for going out in too! You can want but not get it at all because at the end of the day, it was my parents’ money not mine, haha!
Did being denied trainers only make you want them more?
Yeah, I think that’s pretty accurate, so I had to find my own way of getting the latest footwear (which didn’t happen for a long time). Indeed, it did make me want them more, so I used my lunch money in secondary school to buy cookies from Tesco and sell the cookies and biscuits individually to classmates to slowly gather money to buy my first pair, it took a few weeks but we got there in the end.
What was the first pair you bought with your own money?
The Nike Air Max BW (Big Window) in the Persian Violet colourway.
Beautiful. What would you say is the most common mistake when it comes to shoe care?
I would like to say the use of household remedies found via google and also not reading the instructions properly before application!
What bad shoe cleaning horrors have you witnessed and/or experienced yourself?
When we had a drop off service in London, a customer used vanish and baking soda to try to clean a pair of nubuck Air Force 1s, when coming to the consultation they weren’t truthful about how the trainers got into a bad state. So during our cleaning process the texture of the shoe started becoming gooey and as it dried up after the clean, the texture of the shoe had hardened, leaving my team and I left oblivious to why this had happened. Nonetheless we were able to clean them back to a reasonable state after many, many attempts.
What was the worst shoe you ever had to clean and how did you manage to bring it back to its quality?
A pair of suede mint green Asics Gel Kayano that were covered in blood! The customer ended up being caught up in the middle of a tussle on a night out and the shoes were not mint green when they were dropped off to us! However, with a bit of patience and several attempts, we were able to get rid of all the blood staining on the trainers and the customer was over the moon, as the glorious mint green had been revived and the trainers were as good as new on collection!
What are your go-to Jason Markk products today?
The RTU foam is amazing for quick cleaning on my daily rotation to maintain them, even if I don’t have much time to hand, I can still ensure that they don’t get into a bad state.
Our Suede Kit is also one of my favourite products to use, as just using the kit to dry brush and erase my Suede and Nubuck trainers have helped prolong and maintain the buttery texture and vibrance to the uppers.
Our Premium brush is super handy for all things delicate and it foams up our cleaning solution very thoroughly with liberal amounts of solution and the way our cleaning solution works, the more it foams up, the more dirt is lifted to the surface.
Our Microfibre towel is super slept on, as people often mistake it as “just a towel”, but when coming to clean anything that is delicate following our premium brush, it not only gets into the crevices where the bristles can’t get to but also absorbs excess moisture very well which means the overall cleaning experience is super enjoyable and gratifying as the delicate materials clean and dry up like new!
Last but not least, having an Essential kit is a staple, when any of my trainers get to a state where quick cleaning will not solve the problem, the deep cleaning process is a secret vice for me, knowing that I need to do everything I can to bring them back as close to new as possible, with the kit including our Standard Brush as well, cleaning up dirty midsoles and durable leathers have never been easier!
How did you find the challenge we set you here?
I’m sure your team can agree with me as well, but I think I made it seem a little less of a challenge than what was initially proposed haha, so I'd like to say fairly straight forward! The experience gained from my time with the drop off service allowed me to work through each pair strategically and knowing the properties and how to use the range of products in our range really helps tackle even the worst of cleans!
Can you talk us through the process?
First and foremost before you quickly clean or deep clean anything, we always advise using a dry Premium Brush or our Suede Brush and dry brush off the uppers as thoroughly as possible! Specifically with mud, once it dries, the last thing you want to do is actually re-wet the mud and cause it to inset even more than it already has! Then following the instructions on the back of the packaging is super important as well, as following the steps will ensure that the product is used correctly through the cleaning process. Lastly, make sure to not over wet the brush during the cleaning process and always have a microfibre towel to hand, to absorb any excess moisture if it gets too wet during the cleaning process, as once you over wet the brush and over dilute the solution, you will end up smothering the uppers with too much water, in return with delicate materials like Suede and Nubuck, this could result in loss of colour as it’s a heavily pigment dyed material.
What caused you trouble and how did you resolve it?
The longer hair suede had a lot of mud trapped between the suede fibres but by using the dry brush technique with the suede brush and suede eraser allowed me to eliminate as much of the inset mud as possible, making the deep cleaning experience very straight forward afterwards.
If the LN-CC audience can take one thing away from this, what do you hope it is?
I hope that whoever has taken the time to read this will nurture more of a patient and sustainable mindset, especially with fashion being so fast paced nowadays and with there being new footwear releases that are happening every week. Hopefully they can buy nice things, take care of them, so that they can last a long time!