When I was first asked to write a piece about a shoe-cleaning service, I was a little surprised. My editor has seen my shoes, so she knows what’s going on. To put it mildly, I am not what you would call a connoisseur of fashion-forward footwear.

However, rave reviews and some pretty good digital marketing brought Shoe Mo to our attention. We also seem to do a few articles about shoes for some reason so this might be more relevant than I realise.

Anyway, I brushed up on the latest sneaker launches and tried to get into the mindset of someone who understands a bit more about sneakers.

More than just a Shoe Shine

The first thing I noticed when I visited their website and social media channels for a bit of background, was that they focused a lot on shoe culture and differentiation. I was expecting shoe cleaning kits and sparkling white Converse, but what I saw were Yeezys and Nike Flyknits with customized artwork.

This was getting more exciting as I went along.

I got in touch with co-Founder, Ginny, who shared a bit more about the KL-based company and why they’re starting to get some real traction in the market.

Shoe Mo co-Founder, Ginny at her store

They’re currently cleaning and customizing about 150 to 200 pairs of shoes a week, which means over 20 pairs a day come through their doors. These aren’t just your Chuck-Taylors or leather loafers, but also includes Prada, Louboutin, Gucci, Phillipp Plein to streetwear like Adidas, Nike, Vans, Converse and many others.

What makes this more than just a shoe shine is that each pair apparently has a story behind it. Ginny shared that one of their customers is a die-hard sneaker fan with over 88 pairs of Adidas, while some customers bring shoes with sentimental value for restoration, making each pair a story within itself.

For some reason, all I could think about was that terrible Adam Sandler movie called ‘The Cobbler’, but I digress. And just to clarify, I didn’t compare Shoe Mo customers to Adam Sandler. I would never do that.

Why Shoe Mo exists

Shoe Mo stands for Shoe Maestro and has been in existence since November 2016.

Originally from Vietnam, and a former Grab alum, Ginny met her future Co-Founder when she moved to Malaysia for another job. As with all great stories, chance and luck brought them together to form a fledgling shoe cleaning business.

Ginny customising a shoe

Shoe Mo is now a much different company to when it started, with services like customisation, cleaning, repainting and deodorizing, giving every single sneakerhead and shoe fanatic a reason to visit their store.

Not as simple as it looks

I’ve tried to clean my shoes before and I recognize my limitations. I get tired and extremely bored after five minutes. Add to that, I can’t ever get them really clean.

So how do they make it cleaner, brighter and sparklier than ever before? From what I can see, and from what they shared with me, it is mostly through a lot of hard work, actual shoe cleaning tools and a team of passionate cleaners.

What I think is the actual game changer is their ability to customise shoes and bring life to your older kicks. The fact that national athletes and influencers come to them for work usually means they have street cred and in the sneaker business – and street cred is pretty much everything.  

SyaidatulFifah - National Bowler
National Bowler Syaidatul Afifah (right) with her newly customised bowling shoes

I know what I’ll be doing the next time I swing by KL with my three pairs of shoes; probably a quick visit to the mall, buy some shoes and then visit Shoe Mo to get them all pimped out.

If you’d like to find out more about Shoe Mo and you’re around downtown KL, maybe you could drop by Robinsons, The Garden Malls at 3pm on the 19th of November. You can find out more and register here.

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