Cart is empty

Go to SF Shop

The Art of Becoming a Sneaker Customiser

sneaker news

Sneaker customisation seems more prevalent than ever as a way to make bog-standard sneakers stand out and be truly personalised. Even the most artistically challenged sneakerhead can turn a GR into a Grail with the right strokes and skills, but some individuals and organisations have successfully turned their artisanal pursuit into fully-fledged business empires.

We’ve extracted some pearls of wisdom from some of the biggest sneaker customisers over the years. This isn’t a step-by-step guide of how to customise sneakers. Rather, this is some overarching advice on how to focus your creativity with sneakers as the medium.

Of course, material exploration isn’t necessarily an exercise in opulence. It also looks into how using alternative materials at a grassroots level can possibly influence the big brands into making more conscious choices.

‘We have even started to embrace vegan options like ‘Piñatex’, which is a leather derived from pineapple husk that has a grain similar to sharkskin. I’m really passionate about learning every aspect of what we do – I want to know how the materials are manufactured, what we’re actually putting our money into, and what our customers are paying for.’

I’m Not a Businessman; I’m a Business, Man!

If you’re planning to take your side hustle into a gainful form of employment, prepare that paperwork! And keep an eye on the numbers, as the pursuit of art doesn’t necessarily keep the lights on in the short-term. But this isn’t Business Freaker, so consult a local accountant for the best advice.

‘Definitely, even to this day, I feel like I’m not the best at business. I’ve just always wanted to be an artist and create stuff – I was never a numbers guy… My advice for people struggling with that is to find the right person to help you. Steve Jobs always said he couldn’t do it without a team,’ says Ciambrone.

Now it’s your turn to get started!

Need some more custom inspiration? Check out April’s best custom sneakers here, or suss some of the coolest Union-inspired kicks here.

Latest Videos

Subscribe to our Newsletter