The Best Custom Sneakers of 2019 (So Far)
From the high-voltage ‘Detective Pickachu’ to the pupil-dilating Travis Scott ‘Trippin’ in Oz’, these custom sneakers have creatively eclipsed some of the most-hyped collaborations this year. This is a technicoloured ode to the community of creatives cohabitating in the sneakersphere, customising kicks that offer individuals a chance to flex their artistic credentials and reinterpret some of the most-beloved silhouettes in the game. These are some of our favourites from 2019.
Off-White x Air Jordan 1 ‘Detective Pikachu’
This Off-White x Air Jordan 1 custom packs more watts than Pikachu’s lightning rod. Revealed in the lead-up to the release of Detective Pikachu, the Off-White Jays were composed for film director Jordan Vogt-Roberts. These do as much damage as anything in your Pokedéx, the gutsy custom somehow maintaining aesthetic coherence despite the visual calamity on the uppers. Constructed by Stomping Ground Customs, expect more circuit-breaking drops from the New York–based label before the year is out.
Nike SB Dunk Low 'LEGO',
Bespoke IND have been cutting up the sneakersphere for years, the Melbourne-based brand going nuclear on everything from the Air Force 1 ‘What the Swoosh’ to the Element React 87 ‘ACG’. But our favourite from 2019? The Nike SB Dunk Low ‘LEGO’, a nostalgic build of suede, kangaroo, lamb and deer skin that even incorporates real LEGO on the laces and tongue!
The SB Dunk Low – the only time you don’t mind stepping in LEGO.
Air Jordan 1 ‘Paris’
Mon dieu! No list of custom sneakers would be relevant without The Shoe Surgeon. Dominic Ciambrone took it all the way to the City of Love with his latest rendition of the Air Jordan 1, building the iconic uppers with a shimmering texture reminiscent of a night in Paris. Known for extraordinary interpretations of legendary silhouettes, The Shoe Surgeon somehow manages to cut brand new angles on legacy blueprints. Yes, sometimes all that glitters really is gold.
Nike Kyrie 4 ‘Killa’
Zion Williamson is still heavily favoured to ink a deal with Nike despite blowing-out his PG 2.5s back in February. The expected blockbuster deal could make him one of the highest paid rookies of all-time. Taking cues from Duke’s Blue Devils, this ‘Killa’ Kyrie 4 custom was designed by Sierato, and comes stamped with the words we’ve all been thinking – this kid’s going to kill them all.
Nike Blazer ‘Country Music Festival’
Made for Ryan Hurd during Nashville’s CMA Country Music Festival, Ben Smith’s custom Nike Blazer’s are a true labour of love. Constructed with buckskin, covered mallard, and goose feathers, the Blazers were washed with clay, coffee and ash, with deer hide and hand-dyed hemp altogether completing the ultimate DIY design.
The Shoe Surgeon ‘Os Gêmeos’ Cleats
Another successful operation by The Shoe Surgeon, these custom cleats were designed for Paris Saint-Germain veteran Daniel Alves. Taking aesthetic cues from the legendary Brazilian graffiti artist Os Gêmeos, the cleats incorporate the vibrant colour palette of São Paulo in one of the most dazzling flexes we’ve ever seen on the football field.
Air Jordan 1 ‘Trippin’ in Oz’
Inspired by the red slippers that Dorothy wore in The Wizard of Oz, and Travis Scott’s Air Jordan 1, these customs pack a killer combination of heart, brain and courage. One of the most popular choices for customisers this year, Travis Scott’s playful inverted Swoosh and rodeo-inspired drip have been dilating the pupils of boys and girls all across the sneakersphere. Dubbed ‘Trippin’ in Oz’, the design flexed a layered Swoosh reminiscent of the sacai x Nike LDWaffle. The mashup would surely impress Cactus Jack (the self-proclaimed ‘acid of rap’), as it beautifully combines two of the most-hyped sneakers of 2019.
Off-White x Nike VaporMax Revenge X Storm
Combining the Off-White x Nike VaporMax with the Revenge X Storm, Edmond Looi breathes new life into Virgil’s interminable ‘The Ten’. Taking aesthetic cues from the Revenge X Storm’s electric iconography, Edmond channels the anarchic energy of skate culture, packing a visual palette so ferocious it may very well trigger a meltdown worthy of its very own HBO series. Packed with some serious voltage, this VaporMax custom is downright dangerous.