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'Sneakers look like new': Save your soles with these clever sponges for $1 a pop

These 'Shark Tank' doodads come pre-moistened and return grimy shoes to their fresh-from-the-box glory, fans say.

Why are sneaker soles — the part of your shoe that spends all its time on the filthy ground — almost always white? It's a question we've been asking since the dawn of Air Jordans. You buy gleaming new Nikes, complete with that new-rubber smell, but they're scuffed and stained as soon as you're barely out the door. For sneaker heads, that's a serious issue. Sure, you could clean them with vinegar, but who wants to walk around smelling like a house salad? That's where SneakErasers come in. These pre-moistened, dual-sided sponges tackle pesky scuff marks and dirt, and they're just over $1 each at Amazon.

This shoe-cleaning kit has everything you need to keep your favorite pair of kicks looking fresh. The erasers can also be used for overall cleaning, and like a pencil eraser, the sponges naturally disintegrate as they work out those smudges.

$12 at Amazon

A gentle rub is all you need for maximum cleaning power. And if the sponges begin to dry while you're buffing, simply add a bit of water to reactivate them. Before you know it, your sneaks will be glowing, whether you're running errands or jogging around the neighborhood.

SneakErasers are the brainchild of college roommates-turned-entrepreneurs who realized the hard way how critical clean sneakers are when you're pitching million-dollar ideas to C-suites. (Yes, you can now pitch in sneakers — another reason you should keep them clean.) From humble beginnings in a garage sprang this mighty sponge, which made it to Shark Tank and is now Amazon's No. 1 bestselling shoe cleaner.

SneakErasers cleaning a shoe.
You've got clean soles and everybody knows, thanks to SneakErasers. (Amazon)

This reviewer with now-happy feet wrote, "With the first pair of sneakers I used it on, they were very soiled and there was no way they could be cleaned back to new. Well, I was wrong. At work, people noticed the white on the sidewalls of my shoes."

"Sneakers look like new!" echoed another footloose fan. "I hate getting scuffs/dirt from normal city wear and tear, and although my shoes are well-loved, they don't look like it! I used them on my Vans and Converse — so satisfying to erase all the grind! I find these are more effective than spray cleaners or Magic Erasers; you can tell they are made specifically for shoes and shoe materials."

And what about SneakErasers' portability? Said a happy buyer: "I love the fact that these came pre-moistened and they're ultra easy to keep in the bag or in the car for quick use. Very solid to have in a pinch!"

"I didn't expect this to work," said a final reviewer (and converted skeptic). "But it does — unexpectedly well. Will definitely purchase again. The instructions say to use it gently to avoid disintegration, but my experience was that it dissolved anyway. However, my shoes were pretty soiled. I think once you get the shoes clean, it should be a breeze maintaining a fresh look with this product and they probably won't dissolve as fast. Definitely keep the sponge super wet."

At just over $1 each, why not try them out yourself? 

$12 at Amazon

If you have Amazon Prime, you'll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.