How to Restore Sneakers with Yellow or Cloudy Soles
How to Remove Yellowing from Sneakers using Angelus Sole Bright
Learning how to restore sneakers is a skill every reseller should have. Even if you only sell brand new sneakers, you just never know when you’re going to need to do some sneaker restoring. In this article I’ll explain how I successfully removed cloudiness and yellowing from the soles of sneakers that were completely deadstock, stored properly, and had already SOLD!
I copped a pair of the 1st edition Nike BB Adapt OG Sneakers when they dropped on the SNKR app back on February 16th, 2020. They were a beautiful black color with a huge “pixelated” white swoosh across the toe bed wrapping around to the side, and super clean clear icy soles with a hint of blue. They weren’t completely clear, as they had some white in the center. These Nike sneakers are also wearable tech, so they come with premium packaging: a huge sturdy box with a charging pad, plastic sneaker inserts/crease protectors (no cardboard inserts for these babies), tissue, and multiple compartments. Very clearly an upgrade over a typical AF1 box. I never wore the BB Adapts, and I kept them in the original Nike Packaging, under my bed, which happens to be a dark place with no sunlight and is also temperature controlled with air conditioning and heat. The box and the sneakers were pristine.
The Bizarre: Why I Needed to Restore Sneakers That Were Brand New
Fast forward to 2023, and I was elated one morning to get a notification from StockX that I had sold something, and it was my Nike BB Adapts! I had these listed for sale ever since I received them (albeit at a price that was above market). So imagine my disappointment when I prepared to ship them, and upon inspection, I noticed that one of the sneakers had some fogginess and yellowing on the outsole. Whaaaaaat?! Was this a factory defect I hadn’t seen? What could have caused only ONE of the pair to turn cloudy and slightly yellow? Typically, when the soles of sneakers are exposed to sunlight, they can oxidize and turn yellow, but this was not the case with these.
I have never had a problem with yellowing sneakers before, I’m meticulous about how and where I store my sneakers, and I have sold sneakers much older than these in the past. Being a perfectionist and obsessed with customer satisfaction, sending them to StockX was simply not an option for me in this condition. I highly doubted that StockX would have accepted these anyway.
Angelus Sole Bright to the Rescue
About a year before this happened, I researched online and discovered that Angelus Sole Bright is an excellent product for removing yellowing from sneakers. I keep a “reselling arsenal” which includes products and tools that I use to:
• Professionally restore or fix
• Refresh or wash
• Get items looking their best before taking photos and before shipping
• Shipping Supplies
• Customer Service Supplies
• Storage Supplies
• And much more
I’ve successfully restored luxury handbags, sneakers, and apparel and have many niche products that work for various things that may occur when reselling. Luckily, I had ordered a bottle of Angelus Sole Bright to add to my arsenal the year prior but had never even opened it. I discovered this when I was purchasing items on Angelus to restore a Vintage Gucci handbag that I bought from Goodwill that needed to be deep cleaned, repaired, and painted (among other things).
Hands down, Angelus makes the best leather paint, and leather cleaning products as well as everything you need to restore sneakers or create a pair of custom kicks. Their customer service is incredible, and they’re a family-owned business. I’m such a fan, it may sound like Angelus is paying me, but they’re not. Everything I have from Angelus I purchased myself, and I am not receiving any compensation to write this. These words are based on my own true and real experience.
How to use Angelus Sole Bright
Here is what I used with the Angelus Sole Bright:
- A clean cloth, paper towels
- Water, obviously (I used the kitchen sink)
- A soft toothbrush
- Clear plastic wrap (like Saran Wrap)
- A very little paintbrush with a brush that isn’t too soft (like the hardness of an angled eyebrow makeup brush)
- A plastic boot holder that stores a single pair of boots upside-down (like this one)
- Natural sunlight (temperature doesn’t matter, but the sunlight does and is what activates the product)
Things you may want to add:
- Rubber gloves – I didn’t use gloves, but it is recommended.
- Sneaker cleaner and supplies – You’ll need to clean the soles of your sneakers before using the Sole Bright if they are dirty or have been used. I just wiped mine since they were brand new and never worn.
- Sneaker Tape – You may want to tape your shoes around the sole to help you avoid getting any solution on the rest of the shoe. Apparently, it can damage it by burning it. I didn’t do this because I was worried the tape would leave a residue, so I was just extra careful. Note: Sneaker tape is just art masking tape. It comes in different colors representing different levels of stickiness, and you can also buy it in sizes (wideness).
Once you have your supplies, follow these steps:
- Clean & dry the soles of your sneakers.
- Put the shoes on the boot holder so the shoes are held in place for you, flat and level, and with the soles pointing to the ceiling.
- Dip the toothbrush or cloth into the Angelus Sole Bright and place it generously over the soles (but not so generously that it drips off). If some solution drips when you apply it, wipe it off immediately. The Sole Bright only starts working in the sun, so make sure you thoroughly remove it from all areas except the sole that you are fixing. This does NOT work on fabric, only outsoles and midsoles.
- Use the toothbrush to scrub the yellowed areas and get the solution into all of the treads.
- Carefully wrap the sneaker in clear plastic wrap while it’s still on the boot holder, and make sure there aren’t any air gaps. I wrapped mine all around the shoes and the top of the boot holder.
- Place the sneakers outside in direct sunlight for 1 to 4 hours.
- After your sneakers have finished sunbathing, remove the sneakers from the plastic wrap and boot holder, dip the bottoms in water, and use a cloth or paper towel to wipe off the solution. If they are not as clear or white as you would like, repeat the process starting from bullet point one above and repeat. You may need to repeat this process several times to get your sneakers to the desired level of clear or white that you want.
- Once your sneaker soles are as white or clear as you want them, remove all the solution. I used the small paintbrush to get inside the very tight and deep tread on the soles of the BB Adapts as the solution wanted to stay in there. I was also very careful not to get any water or soap on the shoes since they were deadstock, and I still wanted to sell them.
TIPS: Between processes, you will need to wipe off the old solution and replace it, as well as the plastic wrap. Some people do only 1-hour sessions as the solution probably gets less effective over time. I wanted to use the least amount of product possible, so I did 4-hour sessions spread over three days, for one session each day. Remember that the sun is strongest from 11 AM to 3 PM. Angelus Sole Bright will not work without natural sunlight. NO, a hair dryer will not work – heat does not activate this. NO, your UV light for your nails will not work either. You can use a professional UV light that costs hundreds of dollars, but it doesn’t even work as well as the sun (which is free).
The Angelus Sole Bright worked perfectly and removed the yellowing and cloudiness from the sole of my single Nike BB Adapt to the point where I couldn’t remember which one I had actually fixed! I was thrilled!
Lesson Learned about Selling Sneakers and Restoring Sneakers with Yellow Soles
Even the soles of brand-new pristine sneakers can start to turn yellow over time. White, icy blue, or clear sneaker soles typically turn yellow because the rubber soles of sneakers are made from a material that is susceptible to UV damage (sunlight), and sometimes the glue is also the culprit.
I’ve learned that even if brand-new sneakers are stored properly, bizarre things can still happen and may require fixing before resale. Time and oxygen, in addition to UV, heat, and improper storage, are unavoidable elements affecting both new and used sneakers. Fortunately, most cases of minor damage are fixable with the right products and processes. Of course, the best solution is to try to avoid and mitigate these issues in the first place.
Want to Add Angelus Sole Bright to Your Reseller Kit?
If you would like to purchase Angelus Sole Bright and would like to support Resell Genius for providing this website and its information at no cost, please consider purchasing using my Amazon link below. I may earn an affiliate commission from Amazon when you purchase the product this way. (you may also get free shipping if you’re a Prime member).
Of course, you can also purchase this product direct from Angelus here.
You can also contact Angelus directly for any questions about the product or how to use it. They respond very quickly to emails and are happy to answer all types of questions about restoring sneakers. Once, they even mixed paint for me based on a picture I sent them and explained how I could color-match the bottom of a beige Gucci Sole – they are so helpful!
In the meantime, I hope you won’t need to restore sneakers, but if you do, I hope you are incredibly successful! If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below. And if you try this method, be sure to let me know how it goes!