Fresh white kicks are great. Wearing them during slush-season isn’t. Fight back
We couldn’t be happier that the pristine white shoe thing has become a thing. Every time you scuff your Stan Smiths, get some bike grease on your Chuck Taylors or spill your coffee on your all-white Vans Authentic we rub our hands together and think about our next sale. Ka-ching!
Obviously we kid. Look down at your feet, champ, there’s one pair of footprints in the sand not because we’ve left you, but because we’re carrying you. (Which, after walking on your hands, just so happens to be the second best way to keep your white sneakers box fresh, so stick with us and you’ll be hundreds).
But why would anyone want to keep their white shoes looking white? You can thank Normcore for that, or maybe it’s the fact that in the same way that nobody wants to see your gnarly feet in flip flops, the same goes for spotting you in shoes with the same condiments on them as the Bratwurst you ate for lunch last week. Which is kind of inevitable when you consider how, after you find that perfect white shoe, you’ll want to wear them until they turn grey.
No doubt about it, this is the season of the all-white sneaker and while choosing the right pair is all a matter of choice – classic Chuck Taylors, slick Stan Smiths or never-not-in-style Nike Air Force Ones – keeping them pristine has become a priority. This commitment is worth the effort. So listen up: here’s everything you need to know about keeping white sneakers white.
Sounds simple because it is. Check out what the weather is doing and dress accordingly. Your white sneakers will remain that way if they’re not used to stomp through puddles. But if you absolutely must wear them in inclement weather, then do this – ScotchGuard! The second after you take your brand new shoes out of the box, pre-treat them with the same stain and water repellent that your mom, if she’s anything like ours, uses on the couch.
Rap moguls like Russel Simmons keep a walk-in closet full of box fresh white sneaks so that they don’t ever have to wear the same pair twice. On the local front we have guys like Mr. Party, Stilo Magolide, who, while being photographed for our May campaign, insisted on wearing his sneakers with the tags still on them.
Be An Influencer
Live in Braamfontein, work at Clarke’s and have more than 1000 Instagram followers or a blog? There are brands willing to give you a pair of shoes in exchange for a post, especially now that the top dogs need to get paid cash money before they’ll even drop a hashtag.
Don’t go all Craig David in 'Seven Days' the next time somebody steps on your sneaks; simply dust them off like a pimp preening his shoulders. Don’t sleep. Wipe off all stains and scuffs before these blemishes have a chance to penetrate your sneakers. A few extra minutes giving your kicks a meticulous once-over for smudges and some elbow grease when spot cleaning will keep your sneakers looking new for longer.
The Stuff Under the Sink
You know, that stuff that you use to wash your windows, floors and toilet? Whether you swear by Mr. Muscle or prefer Jik, grab a sponge, squirt some of the stuff on there and give it a rub. Focus on small areas, working in a back and forth motion. Anything harsh enough to clean your house should do the trick, but we recommend doing this on your greying Vans Authentics before moving on to your alabaster leather Buscemis. Some cleaning products will kill your sneakers, so, you know, tell us in the comments what works for you.
Our preferred sneaker-cleaning method is a handsome package that comes complete with a little bristle brush and is grape-scented. And because it’s made from 99% natural materials it’s gentler on both the environment and your shoes. Jason Markk is our preferred brand and we rely on it to nix all dirt, scuffs, and street smut. But don’t take our word for it, here’s what sneakerhead Zaid Osman says:
"Jason Markk is the world's most trusted sneaker cleaner. I have over 100 pairs of sneakers, and it’s the only sneaker solution I use. I have tried the others, but they just don't work as well. It's so easy, too! All you need to do is add the solution to a bit of water, dip the brush in the water, and start to scrub. You will see how the solution foams up the sneakers. I have used the product on pretty much all materials including suede, leather, and even canvas – it doesn’t harm the sneakers at all. To dry, I either use the microfibre towel or allow the sneakers to air dry. Another product I love from the Jason Markk range is Repel. After you spray Repel on your sneakers you can spill anything on them and it will just wash off with water!"
He goes on to call Jason Markk a must for any sneaker collector, but we recommend it for guys with less than 100 pairs, too.
Shoes are tough, but not so tough that they can stand up to a wash and dry cycle. Your washing machine can turn white rubber soles yellow, and a tumble dryer will tear your shoes apart.
Store your shoes indoors and out of direct sunlight, because like Vampires, white shoes are killed by the sun.
The easiest way to breathe new life into a tired pair of kicks is to change up the laces. Bear this in mind when cleaning your kicks and remember that despite being an added cost, they're still much cheaper than a new pair of sneakers.
All shoes will eventually start to stink and lose their lustre. Anti-microbial materials and mesh layers mean naught if you’re going to be going Susan Sockless with a weak rotation game. Leather needs a day or two to breathe, and secret socks are your friend. Baking soda is a wonderful product that might not make your white shoes white again, but will make them smell better. Sprinkle it in your sneakers to deodorise sweaty shoes and take joy in watching them emit a puff of white cloud with every step.