Toronto’s Sneaker Revitalization Expert: Doms Restorations – Part 1

If you have keeping up with what we have been doing at Sole Theory you would know that we have featured some people that do very interesting things with sneakers. We have featured people that do everything from chop up some of the best sneakers ever made to create masks to people who recreate sneakers with construction paper. One of the features that we did that created the most buzz was on a Raleigh Restorations.

To most of us sneakerheads his talents for restoring our precious sneakers was a gift unlike any other…imagine not having part ways with some of your sneakers that you thought you may have to throw out. But, in the back of your mind you’ve been holding out hoping that that someone or something would come along to salvage them…this was the service that Raleigh Restorations did for many sneakerheads not only in the United States, but also for people in Canada as well. One of the reoccurring issues that I heard as I spoke with people in Toronto about this phenomenal service was that some people told me due to the fact that his work was so good they would often get charged duties and taxes on the international delivery because the sneaker looked brand new! So some people were getting charged more than just the initial cost of the sneaker and postal charge.  With that roadblock often being mentioned I would hear a lot of the Toronto sneakerheads saying “I wish someone in Canada did this service…”

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Well my Canadian sneakerhead peeps we now have DOMS RESTORATIONS! That’s right sneakerheads we have the local restoration specialist IN HOUSE! Doms Restorations was brought to my attention by @lightsoutphotography and asked me if I would be interested in featuring them on Sole Theory…well of course! He told me that he had gotten his sneakers restored by them and was VERY happy with the results that he got. So, he gave me Doms number and we arranged a meeting. At this meeting I spoke with both Dom himself and one of his partners Ryan Pad for hours about the who, what, where, why and how on what they do and got amazing answers. From talking to the both of them I realized that your sneakers are in good hands because they both take what they do VERY personally, are very humble as well as love the sneaker culture and what it represents to all us. Not only are they restoring your kicks, but they are absorbing the stories behind what makes each sneaker important to their clients!

I took the time to ask Dom some of the questions that most sneakerheads talk about regularly regarding sneakers and here are the great answers that I got:

What does the term “sneakerhead” mean to you?

My definition of a sneakerhead would probably be someone who has a passion for sneakers and is in tune with the culture somewhat.

What is Doms Restorations?

Well to put it short, Doms Restorations is a shoe repair service that specializes in vintage sneakers

When  you meet a client can you normally tell if they are a “sneakerhead” or just someone that owns a lot of sneakers?

I actually try not to make any judgments because it doesn’t matter to me whether a client has 1000 sneakers and knows everything or he/she only has 1 pair that they cherish for their own personal reasons.

What was the first pair of sneakers that made you feel like you had a love for sneakers?

The first pair of sneakers that made me catch the bug was the Fire Red 5’s (Black Tongue).  My older brother had been collecting sneakers for a while when I was younger and I always took notice.  One day he was on eBay searching for a pair and I convinced him to buy me a pair of the Fire Red 5’s.  This was my first ever pair of Nike Air Jordans and I wore those shoes to the ground!

What was the most expensive sneaker you’ve ever bought?

The most expensive sneaker I bought… probably a pair of Nike Air Force 1 Stashes for around $250 a few years ago.


How many sneakers do you own?

Around 50 pairs, my collection isn’t what It once was as I started getting rid of a lot of the pairs I never wore but every now and then I take a look at it and still tell myself I have a problem lol.

What made you want to start repairing sneakers?

When I started developing a passion for sneakers in the early 2000s I would buy pretty much everything locally and always second hand.  It was a lot cheaper to do so and sneakers weren’t releasing every weekend like they do nowadays.  Whenever I bought a shoe I would take it home and clean it as best as I could.  Soap and water doesn’t fix everything so I started experimenting and researching how I could repair the bigger issues.  It started off as a hobby and something I would do just to my personal pairs but one day I decided to show what I had been doing on Niketalk which is an online sneaker forum I had frequented for years. I uploaded a couple “before and after” photos and the feedback was great, so great that I actually got asked by people if I would restore their sneakers.  The more sneakers I did for people the more requests I got because the word kept spreading and it just took off from there.  I think a lot of people have no idea that restoring sneakers can be done so when they see some of the pictures they`re pretty shocked.

When did you know that you were good and doing sneaker restorations?

I don’t know if there was one specific moment when I thought “Man I’m good” but I think just all the positive feedback I received from the sneaker community was amazing and enough for me to say, okay I guess I`m pretty decent at this lol.

When you look at a sneaker do you know right away what needs to be done to it…or does you have to do some other diagnosis?

I generally can look at a shoe right away and figure out what It needs, after you restore so many pairs it becomes second nature.

I remember you saying that you like to meet your clientele in person…why is that important to you?

Most of the restorations I do are from local clients in the GTA and 99% of the time I meet up with all of them.  This alone separates me from a lot of restorers; it’s more than a PayPal transaction and running to the post office to ship the shoes.   When I meet with clients a lot of the time we talk, share stories, laugh, work together and discuss the shoe that needs to be worked on so I can give them the best restoration possible.  I think that is why a lot of people trusted me with their shoes early on when I didn’t have much of a portfolio or reputation.  People met me and realized I`m just a regular guy with a passion for restoring sneakers.


How do you breakdown a sneaker when it comes to repairing it?

I usually breakdown it down by how many steps it would take to be completed.

Does each part or process have a price plan? For example a mid-sole repainting costs? Or a de-yellowing of a gum-sole sneaker costs? etc.

I don’t have set prices for each process.  I look at each restoration request individually and base it on what needs to be done as a whole.  Pictures and a description is needed for any inquiry though.

Which part of the sneaker is the most difficult to repair?

I wouldn’t say that it’s the most difficult to repair, but anything that involves gluing I absolutely hate doing lol.

What is your clientele base been like thus far?

The clients I’ve done restorations for have been from all walks of life which I`m very appreciative of.  The sneaker community is amazing; in that it brings people from all different places, ages and colours together because of one common love.

Who has been your most interesting client so far?

I don’t think I can say there has been one client that has been the most interesting, but I will say what’s most interesting to me is like I mentioned before, the diversity of clients.


What has been your favourite sneaker to work on so far?

My favourite sneaker to work on is probably the Aquas 8’s… there’s something about those colours lol.

Do you feel based on your current experience that there is a difference in quality of sneakers from past to the way they are released now?

I think there has been a debate for a long time whether the quality of older releases were better than the current releases.  As someone who works on both older and the newer releases I can honestly say I do notice differences and feel the quality on old sneakers were better and the shoes were more durable.  One prime example is if we look at a shoe that I restore quite often, the Nike Air Jordan 3 black/cement.  If a pair from 2001 and 2011 both come in for a restoration and I compare the midsole, the newer release from 2011 will have paint chipping everywhere and its only 3 years old.  If we look at the midsole from 2001 there will be no chipping anywhere, only slight fading of the colours and its close to 13 years old.

If you could re-release any sneaker what sneaker would it be?

Nike Air Max 95 Stash, definitely one of my all time grails.


As you can see Dom has some very insightful and well thought out answers…make sure to keep us bookmarked for Toronto’s Sneaker Revitalization Expert: Doms Restorations – Part 2



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Sole Theory is a sneaker lifestyle guide that explores the social impact of the sneaker culture. Users can expect to gain insight on recent trends, historic brands and signature styles that have heavily influenced the shoe industry. Content will be driven by articles, interviews and reviews that will uncover interesting facts and stories that have rarely been told.