Sneakers
From the ground up

Chris Frangoulis is a sneakerhead and designer using Instagram to showcase his wild sneaker mashups.

Frangoulis works full time for Kith, and in his spare time creates hybrid mock-ups of his favorite sneakers. The designs that fill Chris’s Instagram truly stretch the imagination by combining colors and features that often prompt the question “Why didn’t Nike think of that?”

Further below, Chris showcases some exclusive designs for Highsnobiety, while we also took the time to ask him a few questions around his personal tastes, design workflow, and more.

If you’re an aspiring young designer, or just a sneaker fan in general, you’ll want to check out Chris’ responses below.

Adidas Human Race Future Craft – Coral Red / Cerulean Blue

A post shared by Chris Frangoulis (@maroonnyc) on

First, talk about your work with Kith and Bergdorf Goodman.

I started working at Kith Soho in October of 2015 as a sales associate. In August of 2016 Ronnie offered me the opportunity to open and run the Bergdorf Goodman location. I’ve been there since.

When did you start creating these sneaker mock-ups? What has your response been?

I started designing back in July of 2015. The response has been amazing. 51k followers for a page that strictly posts sneaker concepts is definitely something I’m proud of. I’m so happy to see that I’m inspiring people to follow in my footsteps and create, have fun and share ideas.

I feel like the average sneaker designer isn’t celebrated enough. In my last live Instagram stream I asked my followers to name some designers and they were only able to name five. These are people that spend years in school and work endless hours to create a product that people go crazy for.

My original goal used to be to get a job for one of the major footwear companies, but If I wanted to be a nameless, uncredited employee I’d just get a job in the field I studied in college. So the goal now is to collaborate and get a collaborative shoe with my name on it, in partnership with one of the big brands, and I won’t accept any less.

Which sneaker designers do you look up to the most? Which designers should people know about?

Some of my favorite designers are Nate Van Hook (co-designer of the Nike Air Yeezy 2 and Nike LunarTerra Arktos) and Marc Dolce (a longtime designer at Nike Sportswear who now works at adidas).

Adidas Futurecraft Ultraboost Mid – Colorway inspired by Wassily Kandinsky's "Transverse Line" (1923)

A post shared by Chris Frangoulis (@maroonnyc) on

In terms of technology like Photoshop and Illustrator, what do you see as the next frontier for your sneaker designs?

I’m sure 3D printing will be used heavily in the future of sneaker design. adidas has already started to dabble in that field and I’m sure it will be a hit. But for me, pencil, paper and my laptop will have to do for now.

What programs are you using, how long did it take you to learn?

I use a mixture of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator depending on what the project calls for. I started using Adobe products about three years ago; it’s one of those programs that you think you have mastered but I find myself learning new things all the time.

Today a lot of brands offer custom services like NIKEiD or miadidas. What do you think could be the next step for these projects?

I feel like more services like Nike Bespoke will pop up. Well-made shoes that are truly custom. No limited options, and you can actually feel the materials that are going to be used. Sounds like heaven to me!

Personally, what are some of your favorite sneakers?

Currently, Y-3 Qasa Racer Low, Nike Free Powerline “Olympic,” Nike Free Lunar Orbit, adidas YEEZY 750 and 350 V1, Air Jordan 1 “Royal,” Air Jordan 8 “Aqua,” Air Jordan 5 “Burgundy,” Air Jordan 6 “Miro,” and Air Jordan 3 “Mocha.” Ask me this question tomorrow and I’ll give you a totally different answer, I like a lot of shoes.

Check out some more of Chris’s creations below.

adidas YEEZY 350 V2/adidas “Human Race” NMD Concept

This Frankenstein of a shoe features components from a few of adidas’ hottest sellers, including the YEEZY 350 V2 and the NMD.

Nike Spiridon/Nike VaporMax Concept

Here, Frangoulis imagines Nike’s 1997 Spiridon sitting on a futuristic VaporMax outsole. The concept spans 20 years of Nike sneaker design, but the final result remains quite cohesive.

Now read our interview with Clément Balavoine, the French designer making technical Nike concepts.

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