Ever since sneakers became a fashion statement a couple of decades ago, designers catered to pretty much every thinkable audience. This brought us a steadily growing variety of styles, with only a couple of boundaries that limit creativity. Trademark protected imagery. And of course collaborations between rivalling sports brands. Then there’s also always the business aspect, with some designs not making the cut since there simply isn’t a market big enough for them. But all of these ifs and buts don’t matter when it comes to sneaker customs.
Bespoke makeovers of our favorite silhouettes show us what could be if it wasn’t for mundane factors like profitability, legal security or widespread appeal. They’re the resuluts of creative sandboxing, following the paths that remain impassable for those that play by the rules. And while customizers tend to overdo it from time to time, they still remind us that we shouldn’t take us and our passion for sneakers too serious. In addition, some sneaker customs are just too good to be 1-of-1s. That’s why we browsed through Instagram and picked out a couple of shoes that we think should definitely enter serial production.
Title image via @sidbysid_custom
Nike Tuned “Bi-Color” by l.s_customs
Tuned Air meets a tuned upper. Nike actually did several sort-of multicolor variants of the TN, but none of them hits quite as hard as this one. The mismatched design with inverted colors emphasizes the model’s unique upper pattern in a way that few official releases did.
Nike x VANS Old Skool by Katty Customs
Even though both brands come from different backgrounds, the Jazz Stripe and the Swoosh go together pretty well in practice. And that eye-catching cartoon style perfectly embodies both the “Off The Wall” and “Just Do It” slogans.
adidas Crazy BYW x Hu NMD x POD x Futurecraft 4D by John Trottier
Even though this one’s a mere concept rather than an actual custom, it might as well be an actual adidas release. Two of the most interesting signature models sitting on a midsole that combines BOOST and Futurecraft? Come on, this shouldn’t remain a “Never Made” sneaker in every sense of the word.
Nike Air Force 1 x Pigalle Playground by Sid By Sid
It’s almost a little odd that every Instagram photographer’s favorite basketball court hasn’t been turned into an official sneaker yet. Given Pigalle founder Stephane Ashpool’s love for basketball and established connection with Nike, the Air Force 1 seems like a natural fit. And the execution on these is just perfect.
adidas YEEZY BOOST 350 V2 “Venom” by Mr. Simply Custom
YEEZY customs are a tough one to pull off, let’s be honest. Hypebeasts ran the silhouette itself into the ground, while lazy customizers that plastered the shoe with LV monograms, Gucci logos and Virgil quotation marks then managed to tip it over the edge. Morever, comic-inspired sneaker customs are always on the brink of ending up super-corny. However, this “Venom” version puts a fresh twist on the 350 V2 and just nails the design cues taken from the Marvel villain.
ASICS GEL-LYTE III “World Map” by Certified Custom Lifestyle
Yeah, this has been done before just recently. But check out the details on this ASICS custom. The execution almost tops the real deal by atmos and the slight yellowing throughout the upper add an aura of antiquity. Brilliant job.
Nike Waffle Trainer “sacai” by pugsandkicks
A lot of us caught an L on one of the most celebrated-slash-coveted collabs of 2019. “Self do, self have” is the way to go then. And if the exaggerated sole wasn’t your thing to begin with, you might like this makeover of the classic Waffle Trainer even better than the actual sacai collab.
adidas YEEZY 700 “Bred” by Huycustoms
Come one Ye, we know you still got love for this classic colorway. And if there was any doubt that it works on the YEEZY 700, Exhibit A right here should settle all of them.
New Balance x Balenciaga Track 990 V4 by Michael Cutini
When worlds collide… the original dad sneaker meets the overstated high fashion track shoe of today. Given the two contrasting basic ingredients, this unlikely hybrid looks surprisingly dope. Just imagine the whole shoe being finished in New Balanace‘s “Made In USA” quality…