“If you’ve already spent so much on your sneakers, why not spend a little more on their upkeep?” said Callista Devi, a student from Kaplan University.

“A little more” may be an understatement as Callista in fact spends hundreds of dollars monthly to send her prized collection of sneakers for “regular checkups”.

The 18-year-old gets her sneakers maintained at Shoelution, a company that provides professional cleaning solutions for sneaker heads in Singapore.

Shoelution founder Aaron Tan said he’s seen a growing demand for his service over the years. “Personally, I used to feel that this (sneaker maintenance) is a culture many Singaporean youth do not practise because many of them prefer the slightly dirty aesthetics,” the 23-year-old said.

Mr Aaron Tan, sneaker head and owner of Shoelution. Photo by Marcus Lim

Now, more young sneaker fans are willing to pay for his 3-day cleaning service.

On the first day, Mr Tan’s team will remove the less stubborn stains on their customers’ shoes with their homemade pre-stain remover. On the second day, they will clean the shoes thoroughly. The third day is set aside for water proofing and drying.

“Treat your sneakers like your teeth,” said Mr Tan. “Although they may not always seem dirty, it is always good to go to the dentist for regular checkups.”

Sneaker heads who don’t want to spend a fortune on professional services have opted for different DIY methods. For example, polytechnic student Lee Shang Ji uses a shoe cleaner from shoe care brand Jason Markk to freshen up his sneakers. He also finds another product Crep Protect very effective in cleaning mud stains.

“If you are diligent enough and you are willing to find out what works best for your shoes, you can save yourself both money and time,” said Shang Ji.