Refer to sneakers as "just shoes" to anyone with a closetful of Jordans and you'll likely get a searing case of side-eye, followed by a complete redux as to why sneakers are an integral —nay, mandatory — part of modern day fashion. But even if you don't drop big bucks on your kicks, chances are you don't want to walk around looking shabby, either. We talked to custom sneaker design and restoration expert Richard Brown, founder of Ohio-based Proof Culture to find out the best tips for keeping sneakers looking so fresh and so clean, clean.
Those of you wondering why go to the trouble of cleaning shoes when you can just get another pair off the discount rack don't know the half of it. For many, sneakers come with major emotional attachments. "Every shoe has a story; I believe that at its core," Brown says. "I have shoes and I remember where and when I bought them, what was going on at that point in my life that made me excited enough to buy them."
Of course, there's also the issue of value, as some sneakers are rare, limited-edition versions. The hottest models can even fetch big bucks decades later. For example, a pair of 1985 Nike Air Jordan 1s, worn by Michael Jordan, sold in May for $560,000 via Sotheby's auction site! (The estimated value was $100,000 to $150,000.)
The vast majority of sneaks won't fetch that kind of moolah, though — and it doesn't matter. "Most of the time there's a sentimental reason why someone wants to bring them back to life," Brown says. So here are five tips on how to clean your sneakers correctly: