KEEP YOUR WHITE KICKS CRISP – JASON MARKK
Sneakerhead and entrepreneur Jason Markk has built a name keeping his prized possessions looking their best.
As we prepare to head into the heat of summer, Levi Maestro talks to Markk and his staff in Los Angeles about how to keep your white kicks looking ‘pure money’ all season. Check out the video below.
Sneaker aficionado and collector Jae Yannick explains the thought process behind unboxing, and maintaining, his ‘art’ collection over the years.
Keeping kicks immaculately clean is a full-time job. White kicks, Jason Markk notes, although perfect for days that are “72 and sunny, with a light breeze” can suffer a career-ending scuff with one wrong step.
It comes as no surprise that long-time Jordan collectors store their rarest heat for special occasions. Prolonged storage, however, presents its own set of challenges, as improper conditions can lead to discoloration. Trust, you don’t want to be the person in off-yellow 11’s when someone busts out their deadstock pair and blinds the room with pearly whiteness.
All things considered, the task of keeping a collection in mint-condition seems Sisyphean. Why would anyone subject themselves to this never-ending cycle of cleanliness? It’s gotta be the shoes.
“Sometimes when I look at sneakers, I view them as art,” says Jae Yannick, a 30-year-old sneaker collector and North Carolina native who now resides in Brooklyn. “Especially, those KAWS 4’s that dropped—that’s a piece of art to me.”
Well-respected in NYC’s sneaker scene, Jae understands the hard work it takes to acquire rarer pairs. Rather than rocking limited-edition releases, he puts them on display throughout his home. When it comes to general releases, though, his favorite kicks go, as he puts it, “straight to the feet.”
The original Bred 1’s, Black Cement 3’s, and KAWS 4’s are Jae’s top three Jordans of all time. He waxes poetic about the design of each sneaker in detail as if he’s falling in love with each silhouette for the first time. Once we get on the topic of keeping white Jordans clean, he runs through a list of his favorite all-white releases, which include the OVO 12’s and “Pure Money” 4’s.
“Another one that needs to come out, and tell somebody from Jordan I said this, the all-white 4’s with the green tips—THOSE need to come back out, because those were fire back in the day,” he says emphatically.
Discussing the level of attention he pays to the kicks he actually wears out, Jae unabashedly admits he’s more careful than most. “I’m not a dirty sneaker person. There are certain sneakers that do, actually, look better when they’re dirty. But, most of the time, I like to keep my joints fresh—like, brand new fresh. I just bought a case to put some deadstock heat in…just because I wanted to look at it be fresh.”
Unsurpisingly, Jae has a lot of experience cleaning kicks. He recommends keeping a bottle of sneaker cleaner at home for daily maintenance, but swears soapy water and a toothbrush are enough to get the job done. Preventing oxidation has proved to be a bit of a challenge, though, especially since part of his collection is still in North Carolina.
“What I used to do with my old kicks, I would put them in Ziplock bags and try to get [the bag] as air-tight as I could, and then I’ll leave them in the box that way,” he explains.
These days, however, Jae appreciates his collection too much to let his favorite pairs simply sit in storage. “If I get some heat that I admire—like I said, some of these sneakers are art pieces to me–I set them up in my house on display,” he says reverently.
With such a large catalogue of classics to choose from, Jae takes great pride in rocking a deadstock pair for the first time. “There’s no better feeling than un-DSing a sneaker. And if you can put that off to a time when [people] are like, ‘Oh, I haven’t seen that sneaker in a long time,’ that feeling is second to none,” he muses.
“Now for me to finally get [a retro] again–without a Jumpman on the back, with a Nike Air on the back, like it was in the ‘90s when it first released—it’s gotta go straight to feet…to make up for all those years when I didn’t have it.”