Sneaker Restoration Secrets To Get That Good Soul In Your Feet

  Tuesday Bote - Sept 15, 2020

When the world seems like it's in chaos right now, watching sneaker restoration ASMR videos can relax you and give a little hope. We look forward to a Cinderella-like ending- an old battered shoe magically transforms into a dazzling beauty like when it first came out of the box.
Sneaker cleaning and restoration is more than being about a neat freak. You might find a brand new sneaker underneath an old one - which can feel like a brand new you.  



Why We Need Sneaker Restoration and Upcycling


In Japan, throwing out things quickly is called “mottainai”, which means being wasteful. The Japanese instead work on restoring things as a way of truly appreciating their value. 
These days, a pair of luxury shoes might be your way of rewarding yourself, but what would be the point of enjoying it - if you're going to throw it out at the first sign of disrepair? If we can enjoy mint vintage collectibles because they look so well-maintained, why can’t we do the same for shoes that we enjoy using each day? Taking care of your shoes not only breathes new life into them; it upcycles them so that they don’t impact the environment. 


The Joys of Sneaker Cleaning


Having your kicks brought to a professional restoration service can only go two ways: - either you are mesmerized by how good they look - or you take another pair of good shoes for granted and in a week, have them cleaned again, with no thought to the process. The first option offers a lot more possibilities.


How to Do Sneaker Restoration Right


If you ever marvel at the look, smell, and feel of freshly cleaned and restored sneakers, there's a chance that you can enjoy the process that makes all that possible. Why not take a stab at being a fairy godmother to your own pair of shoes?
Jason Markk, the ultimate shoe restoration guru, who started the sneaker restoration trend back in the late 2000s, said sneaker restoration in essence, only requires two things:
  1. The right tools 
  1. The right technique
Learning how to do your own sneaker restoration not only saves you money, but it gives you a deeper sense of satisfaction for transforming a pair of shoes that have seen better days.



Setting up With a Good Sneaker Restoration Kit

 Oliver Cabell Shoe Refresh Kit

The best sneaker restoration kit takes care of your sneakers without ruining the materials. Your brushes, cleaners and conditioners should be specific to the material you're cleaning.
Standard cleaning materials are:
  1. Brushes
    There are two kinds of brushes: a standard rough bristle brush, and one that’s made with horsehair or other softer bristles.
  1. Shoe Cleaners 
    Standard sneaker cleaners are sometimes mild cleaning agents. If you have leather sneakers, your cleaning products should be a leather friendly solution.
  1. Leather Shoe Conditioners
    While we already covered how to clean white leather sneakers in a previous post, a leather conditioner for white sneakers can also work on any colored sneaker. Your sneaker conditioner should be made from organic materials that will not dry out leather.
  1. Sealant
    Weatherproofing or waterproofing after cleaning provides added protection for your shoes, so that they can stand against the usual dirt, grime and nasty weather. 


How to Do Your Own Sneaker Rehab at Home


KAAP x Oliver Cabell

If you bought a relatively new pair of sneakers, cleaning can be a breeze. You just have to do minimal maintenance like daily spot cleaning.
Deep cleaning is done at least once a month or whenever you feel like your shoes has gone through deep mud or extreme weather. 
Here are the general steps to doing a simple clean:
  1. Take off the laces and the insole. Remove surface dirt by brushing or wiping down your shoes.
  1. Apply sneaker cleaning agent with a microfiber cloth. Spot clean all over the shoe.
  1. Clean the midsole by applying the same cleaning agents with the right brush. Brush gently all over the sneakers.
  1. You can spray inside the shoe with a diluted batch of cleaning agent.
  1. Wipe off any cleaning solution you just applied; do not rinse. We don't recommend putting your shoes in the washer because it will ruin leather material or worse damage your machine. 
  1. If you are cleaning a sneaker with cloth materials, stuff the inside with newspapers to absorb any moisture better. 
  1. Once you have finished cleaning the insoles in the same way (by rubbing cleaning agents on them and drying them out separately), you need to stuff your shoes with newspaper so they can better absorb moisture inside. Dry overnight.
  1. Once your shoes are completely dry, put back the insoles. Place shoe trees inside each shoe to prevent odors and to help your shoes retain their shape for less creasing.

  2. Spray weatherproofing sealant on both sneakers. Store your shoes in shoe bags, and place them in a cool, dark, dry place.


When to Go to a Professional for Shoe Restoration

 Oliver Cabell Italian Leather Shoes

Unfortunately, even with your best efforts and regular cleaning, you might still need professional shoe cleaning help. You can go to a professional sneaker cleaning service if you want to take your sneaker restoration a step further than the usual clean:
- Professional Deep Cleaning
When your kicks are starting to show years of wear and tear, and has accumulated dust or dirt beyond what you can clean, a professional can restore it for you.
- De-creasing
As with most leather sneakers, creasing is a common problem. Professional sneaker restoration services can smooth out your old crumpled sneakers to get back that deadstock, out-of-the-box look.
- Repainting
You can mess around with some shoe detailing kits or painting tools, but only a professional can do it right. Repainting is needed when your sneakers have been heavily scuffed or nicked. It’s tricky to do it yourself because mixing and matching paints to get the right color to match your original sneaker hue, will need a lot of skill. Restorers have their own technique to remove old paint and reapply a fresh coat. They also know how to apply a sealant to protect the sneaker from further color damage. 
- Reshaping
If you have old sneakers that are retro and have been bent out of recognition, you can actually have them back to their original form.
Professional sneaker stores also have a deoxidizing service that restores yellowed out soles to their pristine white condition. 
Just like that Justin Timberlake song, sneaker restoration can put that sunshine in your pocket and that good soul in your feet.
We guarantee that you can't stop the feeling.