Wednesday, September 18, 2019

‘White walkers’ in Cebu: The struggle with white kicks and how to maintain them

FOR an archipelago of about 7,000 islands, the Philippines sure lacks in the variety category when it comes to its seasons. Forget Carole King’s assurance of boundless friendship spanning not one, not two, but four seasons. The “Pearl of the Orient Seas” keeps it plain and simple: you are either wet or dry.

That said, from a ready-to-wear fashion perspective, there’s really not much to play with when it comes to daily wear. Filipino casual clothing borrows a lot from function and very little from the flattery department. And no thanks to global warming, the weather can get pretty indecisive. Would you risk your squeaky white kicks on dusty roads, knowing that the warm sunlight is no canopy against a rain cloud that might hover over you anytime, ready to work with the streets on churning annoying sneaker batter?

“Fortune favors the brave,” they say. In case of unfortunate things like floods, mud, dirt and school yard baptisms, here are a few tips on how to care, clean and maintain your favorite white pair.

Don’t make your white pair your primary footwear

Unless you’re rocking Chuck Taylors’ that were born to age gracefully, perhaps you might want to wear a black, gray or brown pair for everyday use? Yes, wear and tear is inevitable when it comes to shoes. But white pairs just annoyingly highlight all the stains and creases. If going out well-dressed is like going out to war for you, then choose your battles wisely.

Consider your day’s transport, logistics, activities

Let’s say you follow step one, and choose to wear your all-white Stan Smiths every Sunday only. Perfect, right? Well, not if you forgot it was actually “trekking day” with friends. Cebu is blessed with nature’s bounty, and spontaneous trips to the beach or the nearest mountain can be the most regular Cebuano weekend. If instead you’re just headed to the mall to chill, think—“will I be driving, taking the cab or riding the jeepney?” Those are ranked accordingly from white, off-white to full-on Dalmatian.

Treat your pair with tender loving care

Some things to remember: Do not leave your white sneakers outdoors. Keep them cool and dry, stored in room temperature. To start cleaning your shoes, take the dirty pair and first wipe away all the mud and dirt using a good rag. Remember to never ever toss them inside a washing machine—laces, soles and all. John Mayer said it best: Use your hands. Don’t soak and leave those things underwater. Use wet rags instead and go on with a little rinsing. To keep them white, build up a lather with some toothpaste (or laundry soap) and brush away. Don’t leave them out under direct sunlight but grab a clean rag instead and wipe your shoes dry. To help them dry faster, crumple some old paper and leave them inside your shoes. This does not only allow your shoes to dry quicker but also helps maintain their shape. Stay away from questionable solutions and formulas that might cause unwanted discoloration.

That sure is a lot of work right there for one OOTD! Though style will always be subjective, one can hardly go wrong rocking the whites—rain or shine.


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