They restore… old sneakers!

Posted on 04 September 2017.

Faded, damaged, abandoned at the bottom of the closet... old sneakers are given a second lease of life thanks to the restoration work of a handful of enthusiasts.

It's been some time since the "sneakerheads" - compulsive buyers and sportswear collectors who love vintage models and limited editions – had the monopoly on beautiful sneakers. Now anyone can update a favorite pair of sneakers still lurking in the back of the closet.
Faded fabric, a damaged upper, oxidized sole... Happy days! Your old sneakers are not incurable! Set up in May 2015 in the heart of Toulouse by Mickael Ajavon and David Mensah, Docteur Sneaker restores, cleans and customizes the shoes that hold a special place in your heart, thus lengthening their lives. Both sneaker enthusiasts, the two young men use technical and artistic expertise to experiment with different models. The cost of a consultation? Between 15 euros for a complete clean and 60 euros for complex restoration or customization work (and sometimes much more, for a truly unique pair!).

Sneaker cleaners

Although sales (and the prices!) of sneakers have exploded in recent years, restoration is a niche market that doesn’t interest shoe repairers, says Les Echos . David Mensah told them: "Sneakers don’t interest shoe repairers: when I pointed out to mine that the glue was showing, he told me they were hardly high quality handmade shoes!"
However, the market for restoration and personalization looks like it has a bright future. Mickael Ajavon and David Mensah are not the only ones with the great idea of opening a specialist workshop. In September 2016, three young Parisians followed suit when they opened Sneakers & Chill in the capital’s 2nd arrondissement. With the influx of orders, they now aim to open up in several large cities in the regions. In December 2016 Brandon Mariadi launched his sneaker cleaner BBB Shop in Lille, followed by Paris in April 2017.
These entrepreneurs all boast of "caring for" more than a hundred pairs a month, meaning as many pairs of worn sneakers saved from the trash.