#CheyGotKicks Sneaker Tips: How to Restore Yellowed Soles
Whether you’ve ignored my advice in my Winter Weather shoe care post or you just have a super old pair of Jays that once featured a glowing icy blue sole, I’ve got the details to revive those yellow-bottomed suckers.
There’s a few options and products out there for you to clear up your yellow soles and I’m going to try to compile them right here for your choosing. However, please note that if your shoes weren’t just “clear” at the time of purchase, but that ice blue tone, you’re going to have to part with the idea of your soles ever returning to that bluish hue. For most of these remedies, you’re going to need a lot of time and a lot of sunlight and some even require wearing rubber gloves. So, let’s get into it!
SeaGlow is probably the most popular and first product discovered to restore soles. I purchased it a long time ago to bring my 2009 Space Jam 11s back to life (I wore the living crap out of those things), but never found the time to get around to doing it. Sea Glow actually derives from a cleaning product that‘s used on boats to help remove oxidation and reverse the yellowing of white and clear plastics. How someone discovered this product’s use on sneakers is unknown, but most likely came from research and knowledge of the oxidation process that is the direct cause of yellowed soles. You can purchase a 12 oz. bottle of Sea Glow from their site for $60. There are different variations on how to use the product on your sneakers, but depending on how yellow they are, you may need to use the product in several sessions. You’re going to need abundant sunlight for this process and depending on how hot it is, ice packs and towels are items you may need (although the heat isn’t something us folk in the northeast are particularly worried about this time of year). I’m a visual learner, so if you’re like me, you’d rather see how it works than read about it. Check out the video tutorial below; it’s thorough and a great start to your first use of Sea Glow! Some things to remember with this product is that it will reduce the traction of your soles, sole separation will occur if the temperatures are hot enough (typically above 90 degrees), and the leather materials of the shoe may degrade if the UV index is high enough and you leave it exposed.
A cheaper alternative to Sea Glow, this DIY product was brainstormed given the high demand of Sea Glow at a more pocket-friendly price. As an added plus, this product can be used to whiten midsoles as well! To make a batch of RetroBrite you need a half a cup of hydrogen peroxide, Oxy Clean, and cornstarch. Watch the video below to learn how you combine the ingredients and apply it to your footwear. Its application is very similar to how you apply Sea Glow and again, requires sunlight. Note that with this process, it’s adamant that when you repeat the session you create a new batch of the RetroBrite due to the chemical reactions that take place as the older batch is sitting. If you’re old school, you may want to go with Sea Glow, but if you’re feeling a little Heisenberg-ish and trust your chemical mixing capabilities, RetroBrite may be the option for you! However, some product users have said the concoction comes out a little clunky and even recommend using a blender to mix the ingredients.
TrueSole Restoration Sauce:
Another sole restoring product to hit the market is the TrueSole Restoration Sauce created by the guys over at RestoreMySneakers.com. These guys have been through every de-yellowing product out there, so they came up with their own remedy to sell at $10 a bottle, plus shipping. Results compare almost identical to SeaGlow for a mere fraction of the price, and again this product works fantastically on midsoles as well as clear soles. They also have plenty of other great solutions on their site for restoring other sneaker issues like sole separation and defogging air bubbles on your kicks.
Once you find the time to tend to your poor yellowed out bottoms, one of these options WILL work for you. I promise! Just remember, keeping track of the temperature in this process is crucial, as it can completely ruin your kicks. And we DO NOT want that. It’s recommended that you use an infrared temperature sensor, which isn’t necessarily cheap, but it depends on how important your sneakers are to you. Once the surface temperature on the sole is above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, sole separation will occur. Of course there are other risky and flaky options like there, like actually dying your soles blue or just using soap and water (real creative, people), but as long as you follow the instructions I’ve provided for you here, these remedies will genuinely clear up your soles — maybe not completely — but you will get results.
Keep checking back with #CheyGotKicks for sneaker tips and exclusive footwear info!