For many of us sneakers are fashion now and it is now acceptable to wear decent sneakers anywhere you want.  Although there are some sneakers that are actually sold “distressed” (ie. looking dirty, scuffed and worn – see Golden Goose) it is important to be able to wear your sneakers anywhere for them to be clean.

Philips are getting in on this trend, releasing a mechanical sneaker cleaner.  Up until now there is not much in the way of mechanical sneaker cleaners around with most sneaker cleaner solutions are in the form of wet wipes and elbow grease.  While these are great – in fact perfect – for a very small amount of dirt on your best Jordans, they won’t be all that great with the very dirty sneakers.

The Philips Sneaker Cleaner looks like a small screwdriver but has cleaning brushes on the end instead of drill bits. It rotates at 500 RPM, and has an IPX5 waterproof rating which is useful as you need to use water with it. The device runs on 4 X AA batteries with an 80-minute run time.

The Philips Sneaker Cleaner is a battery-powered sneaker cleaner that has three different “brushes” for different fabrics.  

  • Sponge – PVC, leather, suede, smooth rubber
  • Soft brush – mesh, canvas
  • Hard brush – textured rubber, rubber sole

The hard brush is HARD.  I’m not sure I would trust it on any of my sneakers, not to accidentally scratch the leather but then it is recommended basically for the sole of a shoe and that’s it.

The soft brush is “relatively” soft.  I would not be using it anywhere near the leather on my Jordans and I’m not going to test it out.  If it was my son’s footy boots in the middle of winter, sure.  Just not a pair of expensive, hard to get Jordans.  The soft brush instead I used for the sole of the shoe.  It worked well there that’s for sure, cleaning up the mud and dirt, getting into those hard to reach cracks and crevices.

The sponge is the only brush recommended for use on any leather shoes.  This is what I used to clean the shoes in the video below.  The sponge was very handy for getting in between seams and into the more difficult to reach places.  

My main issue with the sponge was the amount of water I put on the sponge beforehand.  If you put too much you run the risk of ruining the shoe – especially if you haven’t waterproofed them previously.  Too little and you may scratch the shoe.  Trial and error is what worked best and having a cloth handy to wipe away excess water before it had time to soak into the leather. 

The sneaker cleaner is very touch sensitive – if you press too hard (and may possibly scratch your sneakers) it just won’t spin the brush.  Press lightly and it will spin just fine.  

So why would you use this Philips Sneaker Cleaner instead of, for example, a Creps Sneaker Cleaner kit  (which is basically just various sprays and wet cloths)?  If the shoe/sneaker was so dirty and a cloth just wouldn’t be powerful enough to get through a large amount of mud and dirt then this cleaner would work and work well.

The Philips Sneaker Cleaner will get through mud and dirt that has also been on there for longer so is caked on just a bit more – that stubborn dirt or mud.

For small scuffs though the Philips Sneaker Cleaner is a bit overkill.  Wipe that small scuff with a small Crep wipe where you can control just how much fluid gets onto the sneaker better.  

So who is this sneaker cleaner for?

Most sneakerheads don’t let their sneakers get all that dirty — especially the good one — but there are times where it is unavoidable. For those times the efficiency and ability of the Philips Sneaker Cleaner to get all the dirt and mud off the sneakers from even those difficult-to-get-to seams and cervices is essential.

You won’t need the Philips Sneaker Cleaner often but if you get a pair of your sneakers dirty, and by dirty I mean muddy-dirty that a small rag or cloth won’t cut it then it will save you a lot of time and effort and possibly save your shoes. The Sneaker Cleaner can be used for any shoes of course and for those that lack the fine, soft leather of most sneakers it will be even more effective and useful.

The Philips Sneaker Cleaner is available at Bing Lee, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and David Jones for just RRP $49.95.