Regular followers of my Instagram account will know that I first dabbled with personalising some trainers last year. I was waiting to interview the actress Juno Temple on a shoot (she’s LOVELY, in case you were wondering), and decided to pass the time by playing around on the adidas website. There is a LOT of time to waste when you are interviewing a celebrity on a fashion shoot. But what fun to pass the time by picking all the colours and components on a pair of Sambas! ‘Ooh, I can make them yellow and grey!’ I cooed. ‘I can give them a gum sole! Wait – I CAN WRITE EN BROGUE ON THEM???!’
It was at this point that I stopped playing around and promptly reached for my credit card. How could I not buy these, the perfect pair of trainers? Some sneaks that were totally individual to me? And all for less than ninety quid! The day they arrived from Germany I squealed with excitement like a child at Christmas. Honestly, it was quite the thrill. And here they are in all their bumble bee glory. Swoon.
It’s all very easy; you just go to the ‘customise‘ section of the website and get going. The landing page has recently been redesigned which makes it really easy to pick which style you want – anything from classics from the Originals range (although they’re not doing Sambas like mine at the moment, but you can get a very similar effect with Gazelles), to super contemporary runners and even pool slides. Even if, like me, you have no intention of actually buying a pair, it sure is fun (and tempting!) having a play.
Anyway, by this point I really had the bug, so I was thrilled when Converse sent me a voucher for Christmas inviting me to try out its customisation service (thank you Converse!). You can do high tops or low tops, as well as slip-on low tops, and the choice of fabrics is amazing. And because most people usually opt for very classic Converse in plain colours and with white soles, it’s incredibly easy to make something that looks really different and individual. I went for suede (suede Converse!!) in pale grey with pale pink details – I was tempted to go for yellow but sometimes you have to break free from your yellow and grey comfort zone, guys! And of course, I emblazoned them with the name of this blog down the back of the heels. I LOVE them.
Customised suede Converse All Stars, £95, converse.com
OK, now I was getting carried away. It was time to do a proper investigation into customising trainers, so I moved on to the next brand I’d heard does it: Superga. Its service is quite different to the others in this post. Firstly, you can do it online by mail order, but you can also go into either the Carnaby Street or Camden stores in London, which is a bit more exciting. Secondly, you pick an existing pair of shoes, rather than changing the components before they are made. Finally, the way they are customised is a bit more creative; there is an artist in store who paints the shoes in front of your eyes! You can pick from a catalogue of designs, or bring in your own visual references, and you can even look up the artists so that you can pick the one whose style you like best. I went for grey shoes (I know, I’m VERY predictable!) with a spattered paint effect. It was great to watch it taking shape, and once they’d had a quick go over with a hairdryer, they were good to go (the whole process takes about an hour, or seven days for mail order). Brilliant. Prices start at £10 for the personalisation (depending on the design), plus the cost of the shoes.
Finally – and this is the reason it has taken me so long to write this post because I was doing proper research, people! – I tried out NikeiD. I went into the flagship store on Oxford Street to do mine because I wanted to try the style on first (I find Nike can be a bit inconsistent with its sizing) but you can do it online too if you’re already familiar with the style you want. There are dozens of models available to choose from, but I opted for some Air Max and really went for this not sticking to my comfort zone colours thing with a monochrome printed fabric and emerald green sole. I’m SO HAPPY with them, and with recent Nike limited edition launches getting so out of hand with crazed punters that sneaker stores have had to close, I don’t understand why more people aren’t doing it. It doesn’t get more limited edition than trainers you designed yourself!
Nike iD Air Max, around £150 for similar, store.nike.com
So there you have it – my ultimate guide to customising your trainers. As well as being a fab gift to yourself, they’d make an amazing present for a new bride to change into on the dance floor on her wedding day (particularly if she’s changing her name), or as a gift for anyone at all come to think of it. Please note that all brands regularly change their available choices, so you might not be able to create exactly what I have here (but that’s all part of the fun, right?!). I’d love to hear which are your favourites and whether you’ve tried any of these services yourself, so please leave comments below!
[…] Regular readers of En Brogue will know that I am a fan of designing my own shoes. I’m no cordwainer (yet – there’s always time!) but I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with a couple of brands on some shoes and boots that I had a hand in designing, and I love the customisation services available on the adidas, Nike and Converse websites (you can read more about that here). […]