Dye your sneakers (intentionally!) with coffee
Ahhh coffee, the natural enemy of white sneakers everywhere. Just ask your local hypebarista who foolishly decided to change his all-white Air Force 1s. The name of the very site you’re currently reading is a neologism for “the coffee crumbs, stains, and splatters left on a barista’s clothes and shoes after a long shift at the bar.” Salting your kicks is an integral part of really being in coffee.
But like two enemies in a movie who must band together to take on a bigger baddie, coffee and white shoes have formed an uneasy partnership to defeat the greatest evil of all: not having coffee sneakers personalized with style.
As reported by Equipment Patrol, it turns out coffee is quite the dying agent that can set your shoes apart. Coffee-dyed shoes aren’t exactly a new technique; Portland’s Coffee Shoe Mecca Unsold coffee has been known in the past to hold events where they would do this very thing. But thanks to the help of the internet, you can now do it yourself!
And it’s quite easy to do. To figure out the process, they followed fairly simple instructions from Jake Polino, a very Bostonian sneaker customizer and co-founder of Kizo Kicks. Polino has almost three million followers in his instagram, ICT Tacand Youtube channels where he shows some of his custom works along with how he made them. And her coffee sneaker tutorials are very popular.
Per Gear Patrol, Polino has made 12 coffee sneaker making videos that have received over 200 million views. “I did an Air Force with coffee, it gets 30 million views and now everyone and their moms want a pair of Air Forces coffee. I’ve done it too many times…I didn’t want to do anything Polino says in one of his videos.
So don’t go knocking Polino to get you a pair, especially when he’s already given you step-by-step instructions on how to do it. First you need to remove the laces. Then, according to Polino, you should apply an even coat of acetone to the entire shoe, leather and rubber included. Acetone is the compound of nail polish and it will help prep the surface to soak up the coffee color. But be careful; wear gloves and use it near an open window for better ventilation. Next, you need to prepare your coffee coulis. For this, Polino mixes 30 ounces of Cafe Bustelo coffee with boiling water in a tub large enough to completely submerge the sneakers. Then simply throw in the shoes you want to dye and make sure they are completely covered in mud, using a brick or similar weight to keep them completely submerged. Let them sit for 2 hours and rinse them in the sink. Allow to air dry and relace.
The result is a cream-colored sneaker, a hue I’d call “icy latte.” An added benefit, according to Polino, is that they will smell like coffee forever. And while Polino uses Cafe Bustelo, any specialty coffee you have could also work.
So while I’ll never be cool enough to walk around in a pair of Air Force Ones, I can’t help but wonder how my all-white Chuck Taylors would fare with a little coffee facelift. Their canvas as opposed to leather and they aren’t quite white anymore either, but who knows, maybe they’re due for a creamy upgrade after Labor Day.
Zac Cadwalader is the Managing Editor of Sprudge Media Network and a Dallas-based writer. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.