Richard Rawlings is the host of the Discovery Channel’s “Garage Rehab” and “Fast N’ Loud,” but cars aren’t the only things that keep him busy — he’s also a budding sneakerhead. Sometimes the worlds collide, and even shoe design inspiration can happen from the garage.
“I got a bitching pair of the AJ 4 collaboration with Levi’s,” Rawlings recalled of his Jordan sneakers that were customized with tools found in his garage. “I had mine distressed prior to wearing them — beat them with sandpaper and put holes in them so they looked like worn-out Levi’s.”
Admittedly, his collection hasn’t reached exponential numbers like some collectors’, but he’s on his way to building something to envy. “I did get a free pair of kicks — Mache [a popular customizer] made a set of Alexander McQueen sneakers with our logo.”
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On Tuesday, you’ll get to see what pair Rawlings rocks on the season finale of “Garage Rehab,” airing at 9 p.m. ET, and it’s slated to be an emotional episode. “We did a garage called American Warrior Garage for disabled vets,” Rawlings shared. “I did it for them for free. We did a complete shop rebuild. It’s an open garage that does regular business, but they hire disabled veterans, whether that’s painting or wiring, and [the organizations] prepares them for life outside the service.”
Keep reading for more from Rawlings on his garage style, his favorite shoes and his quest to make a Yeezy-inspired car design.
What are some of your favorite shoes to wear?
“I’m all over the board. I’ve got Yeezy to Off-White AF1 to Saint Laurent. When I’m trying to find something in Dallas, I hit up the shops like Nollege.”
You once said you’d like to turn a pair of Yeezys into a car design. How do you plan to do that?
“I don’t want it to look like a shoe, but take style elements and cover the car in the fabric. I got a pirate black Yeezy 350. I don’t want a car that looks like a shoe, but use the stripes and ‘SPLY 350’ backwards spelling on something like a custom jeep.”
What’s your biggest shoe splurge?
“It was $1,700 on the Off-White Air Jordan in baby blue. I got them before the release.”
Who decides on what you wear on your shows?
“All me — depends on what I’m feeling that day. As far as my clothing, you can’t wear too much plaid.
How many pairs of shoes do you have?
“I’ve got around 200 in the last few years. I wouldn’t be classified as a collector because I wear these things until they’re dead.”
How do you keep your shoes clean in the garage?
“There’s a protectant I use called Crep. If we’re working on a transmission, it’ll stain. Other than that, I keep my shop clean.”
Have you ever accidentally stained any shoes you liked while working around cars?
“It’s a shop, so you’ll snag it on metal or walking through something like hoses and crap all of the time. I try to pay attention — it’s like a new car.”
What are your thoughts on driving while wearing certain shoes that might not be practical?
“I think driving barefoot is natural, but if you’ve got big clunky kicks, take them off. A lot of these sneakerheads take them off because they don’t like creases.”