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Jason Markk's Sneaker Archive is Hype Heaven

Nov 03 2019

The OG sneaker-care entrepreneur and world-renowned collector, END. vistits Jason at home in southern California for a tour of his encyclopedic archive.

Jason Markk at home in LA

In an industry built off the back of 'newness' - the newest tooling, the freshest silhouettes, the latest collaborations or colourways - it's natural that words like 'innovator' and 'pioneer' get thrown about when they probably shouldn't. I get it - I'm probably guilty of it myself. Over the past few decades footwear has evolved from no-frills functionality to become one of the most prolific, passionate, and profitable subcultures of modern times; giving birth to a community which balances on the very tip of what's new in footwear, music, fashion, and art - all defined by an inner sanctum of global tastemakers who predict trends more often than they follow them. Wherever this kind of intensity and demand exists, you'll find commentators rushing to baptise every new idea as pioneering, even when it's probably not (just look at what happened to the Betamax). When it comes to Jason Markk however, pioneer is the only word that makes sense.

Undeniably the OG sneaker-care entrepreneur - who decided to elevate his sneaker care routine from lukewarm soap suds and dedicated sneaker toothbrush to a tried, tested, and trusted sneaker care solution that actually works - Jason Markk's business and success came from a simple desire to solve a problem he had experienced first hand. Offering an antidote to the same problems which had plagued sneakerheads the world over, Markk set out to deliver a series of solutions to two key questions. How do I clean my sneakers without tearing them to shreds? How do I protect them from getting beat up to begin with?

Now into his second decade in business, what began as a labour of love in his parent's garage has become Markk's life's work. Having paved the way for an entire micro-industry which runs alongside the mainstream sneaker game, Markk's business has successfully built a relationship based on knowledge and trust to become to the last word in sneaker care and protection, now stocked in over 2,000 stores worldwide.

END. joined Jason for a day in his personal sneaker archive to learn more about his story so far, and to get the inside scoop on the sneakers that should never have happened and the sneakers he wishes they'd bring back.

Jason Markk reaching for a Nike box in his sneaker archive

Jason Markk exploring his sneaker archive with END.

My first pair were the Nike Air Flight 89s. As a kid, I loved watching and playing basketball and my parents weren’t about to buy me Jordans, so the Flight 89s were it.

From a young age, I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, but I didn’t have a clue as to what or how. I knew whatever I started, I wanted it to be based around something I loved. Then one day I was cleaning my sneakers and it dawned on me that a specialized sneaker cleaner did not exist. The rest, as they say, is history.

I actually was working in advertising before Jason Markk. I enjoyed it but was left feeling unfulfilled because, at the end of the day, I was working for someone else. Once I realized there was a void in sneaker care, I jumped at the opportunity and haven’t looked back since. It’s been over a decade since I started JM and I’m still excited to get up and head into the office. I think that says a lot.

Polaroids of Jason Markk's sneaker archive

I get to be creative. It’s fun and revolves around sneakers…what’s not to love? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all fun and games, but I genuinely love what I do, so it doesn’t feel like “work”.

In my opinion, it’s stems from sneakers and basketball. As a kid I remember watching Jordan win the ’88 dunk contest by flying through air in his IIIs…the connection to the sneakers was instant. Today, when NBA stars arrive to the stadium for a game, it’s basically a fashion runway. And although the whole drip is on display pre-game, when the game starts, it’s still all about the kicks.

Okay, here we go:

Nike Air Max 1 OG Red/Grey/White. That's the one that started it all. The shape, the colourway, the materials are all timeless.

Air Jordan III Black/Cement. Elephant print - enough said! No, but seriously, that's a classic you can rock with anything.

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star. Growing up in Southern California, this was a staple of your wardrobe no matter if you were a thug, skater, or a punk.



The ardest material is canvas. The easiest is leather.

adidas Kobe 2.

Nike Air Footscape.

Nike x Jason Markk ACG Mowabb maybe? I love nature and I love the Swoosh.

Any designer collaboration which used a familiar silhouette and charged crazy retail prices.

Polaroids of Jason Markk's sneaker archive

On one hand, it sucks for the true fan who just wants to cop a pair for their collection and is unable to. On the other hand, with today’s technology, reselling is easier and more profitable than ever, so can you blame the opportunist?

If the pair is ruined beyond cleaning, another pair of beaters isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We all love a fresh pair of kicks, but there’s something very satisfying about a comfy pair of beaters that are still fire. Sneakers are meant to be worn after all, so I say wear and enjoy them.

Starting over a decade ago, our products were developed with the sneaker enthusiast in mind. Countless hours of testing goes into every product we develop and our products do not contain any harsh chemicals or abrasives. My Sneaker Care Technicians (SCTs) have cleaned well over 50,000 pairs of sneakers and are hands down the best in the world. That said, we are working to improve how we educate our customers about our products and how to properly use them. Soon we will be launching an initiative that will give our customers access to exclusive techniques used by our SCTs. Stay tuned!

Jason Markk sharing his sneaker archive with his son in LA