I Use This Sneaker Protectant on Every Leather Thing I Own

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I never have to be this person again. Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

I wear a lot of suede shoes. And not just because cooler temperatures, wind, and rain have finally kicked in (in spring, I practically lived in my pale-pink mules). I love the uneven tonal quality of suede, and its malleable nature makes even over-the-knee black boots incredibly comfortable — and that’s with a bunion on my left foot.

Still, suede may be the most finicky material to care for. Ignoring daily forecasts is not allowed, and neither is mindlessly stepping into odd garbage on my daily New York City walks. But when I discovered Jason Markk’s stain- and water-repellent spray last year, everything changed. Markk is known for keeping sneakerheads’ kicks shiny and new with his trademark cleaning solution, but I’d say his $17 Repel deserves even more praise.

The waterlike mixture (which is made with environmentally friendly ingredients using a technology that Markk has patented) gently coats and protects just about anything: suede, leather, nylon, canvas. Though it isn’t quite odorless as advertised, it is much less offensive-smelling than even my Surf Spray.

Here’s how to use it: I mist the solution all over my suede heels and boots before wear, being careful not to “oversaturate” them (if it starts to look wet, I simply dab with a paper towel). After one coat, I let my shoes (and bags and skirts) dry for 24 hours, then repeat the spray-and-dry process one more time. In another 24 hours, they’re ready to wear (and the effect lasts four to six weeks).

Now, my stiletto-heel YSL boots don’t get that dreaded ring around the toe when walking in slushy snow. The rain no longer seeps into the fringe leather skirt that I bought two winters ago on super sale. Needless to say, I’ve tossed the bottle of Ugg Stain and Water Spray I’d been using as a leather protectant. While that works on Ugg’s slouchy suede, it didn’t do much of a job on my stark-white Converses and Vince leather jacket. The Jason Markk, though, is my all-around fabric-protecting champion.

Another Leather Protector Worth Knowing

Our friend Diana Tsui over at the Cut swears by this stain repellent for leather bags: “You’ll still need to use an umbrella but on drizzly days (or when I find myself under a disgusting, drippy air conditioner), the water rolls off easily, without staining. I once even spilled half an iced coffee down the front, without leaving a mark. Two years and many wears later, my beloved Céline bag looks almost as good as the day I bought it — and it would be pristine, were I more diligent with the reapplication process. I guess I know what I’m doing this weekend.”

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I Use This Sneaker Protectant on Every Leather Thing I Own