Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Retro White!

Last fall, as I gathered up the dredges of what was left in my childhood bedroom before the arm of the excavator smashed down the walls, I finally addressed the big basket of shoes that I couldn't quite get myself to throw away.  This basket included five pairs of Doc Martens, some fun wedges that were just so early 2000's and these two pairs of white "street" tennis shoes.  Both were from college.  The Adidas "Superstars" were from my younger college years and the K-Swiss ones were from my older college and grad school years. 


I just loved those Adidas when I got them and for walking all over campus they were perfect.  In the early 2000's boots were not a fashionable choice except for maybe tall black dress boots for a dressy occasions (we affectionately called the Hooker Boots!) so these shoes were the best I had for all weather shoes.  And yes, the backs of my jeans were always wet and raggedy.  For whatever reason, I held on to these along with the Doc Martens even though I often question why since the Doc Martens together feel like they weigh 100 pounds and they take up a lot of space. 

Well, this summer I started noticing something on Pinterest...Fashionable ladies were popping up wearing what else but Adidas three stripe shoes! 




Well jeez...what do I have sitting in the corner of the garage in a garbage bag?  My own collection of white shoes just waiting to come out of their 10-12 year long exhile!  Only one problem...the shoes in the pictures are clean and white and mine are dirty and the soles are yellowed.  After a round of absolutely futile scrubbing with dish soap I searched the Internet for tips on cleaning the soles of shoes.  Apparently there is a community of athletic shoes collectors out there and they know a secret called "retro-brite" which is a product used for cleaning yellowed plastic on electronics and appliances.  The ingredients in retro-brite are things that a person usually has around the house.  First you put peroxide in a dish, add corn starch, and microwave it briefly.  When it is thickened you add Oxy-clean and it turns into a substance similar to shaving cream.  I tell you, I wish I understood chemistry because the every day uses of chemistry are very fascinating. 


So anyway, how this concoction works is you coat the sole with it and the place it under UV light for several hour.  You can use a lamp or the sun. 


So I coated those nasty soles...


and out in the sun they went. 

Here is an after photo. 


They look better, especially the rubber on the toes.  The leather really got clean where the retro-brite was touching it.  The soles still don't look great but they look better.  I might do a repeat and set them out in the morning so they can be in the sun for a whole day. 


The K-Swiss shoes really whitened up nice which is annoying because I really want to wear the Adidas more but I suppose I can wear these too.  I didn't see any K-Swiss outfits on Pinterest and when I searched a bunch of results showed up about swiss dot, which is a light fabric with little raised dots on it.  It's cute but not what I was looking for!  Justin took out the laces from both pairs and soaked them in OxyClean water overnight so they look really white except for where they were in the lace holes.  The annoying thing is these shoes probably wouldn't be so yellowed if I had cleaned them before shoving them in the back of a closet for ten years but how would I have known? 

So, if you spot me looking perfectly layered and nailing the street casual look like those thigh gap girls from the Pinterest photos, please say, "hey, nice shoes!"  And If you want a retro-brite recipe for sharpening up your vintage 90's game boy or computer monitor or shoe soles I can fill you in! 

1 comment:

Ashley Strukel said...

RM you are the best. I think I remember those shoes! I actually know where my gameboy is (in a box about a foot from me). Maybe I should freshen it up!