New on Barracks Row – DC’s First Sneaker Cleaning/Restoration Outlet
by Larry Janezich
Sole Wash – a new sneaker cleaning and restoration service – is receiving a warm welcome from nearby residents of the 400 block of Barracks Row. The service is the first real non-food service retail outlet to open on the block in years.
Sole Wash – which opened last Saturday at 427 8th Street, SE – is female/Black/Latino owned, all three of those qualities personified in owner Nichole Verdejo. As an Afro-Latina female in a historically male dominated industry, Verdejo is the first female to own a sneaker laundry – and one that happens to be DC’s first.
The outlet was cultivated under Footage Society, a premier sneaker boutique in Laurel, MD, founded by Verdejo and two partners. Since 2015, with the support of her Footage Society co-owners, she has grown Sole Wash into a leading service provider, specializing in sneaker cleaning and restoration. In 2019, Sole Wash was officially established as a sister company to Footage Society and plans were laid to expand to the District. Verdejo said the choice of location was between H Street, NE, and Barracks Row and she ended up on Barracks Row, citing its friendliness to new retail.
Sole Wash also sells new sneakers and exhibits sneaker art – including a prototype for a high heeled sneaker and porcelain commemorative sneakers.