We’re already more than halfway through 2018 and heading into the final stretch of what has been a big year for sneakers in more ways than one. While we’ve already rounded up our favorite Nike, adidas, and Jordan Brand sneakers of the year, we thought it might be time to take a look at what the custom sneaker community has had to offer in 2018.
Virgil Abloh and his deconstructed “The Ten” Nike collaboration have certainly helped push sneakerheads to adopt more of a DIY attitude toward their kicks, although customized sneakers have been around forever. Names such as Dominic Chambrone (aka The Shoe Surgeon), Mache Custom Kicks, and Joshua Vides are highly respected in the sneaker community. Their work is often closer to art than footwear, especially when you consider the time, skill, and work that goes into turning an idea into jaw-dropping reality.
So to celebrate the creativity in the community and shine a spotlight on some of the best creations out there, we’ve rounded up our favorite custom sneakers of the year (so far). Scroll through our selection and, as always, leave your thoughts in the comments.
Joshua Vides’ OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Force 1
Joshua Vides made his mark on the sneaker world thanks to his signature style, which he applied to the Virgil Abloh-designed OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Force 1 earlier this year. This sneaker thrust the artist into the mainstream and resulted in a number of high-profile exhibitions, including a space at the MLB All-Star weekend in Washington DC.
Online Ceramics for John Mayer’s OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Presto “White”
Online Ceramics came up with one of our favorite OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Presto customs, making it for none other than singer-songwriter John Mayer. The custom got Virgil Abloh’s approval and helped spawn the viral #readymadeoffwhite challenge. While the challenge resulted in numerous different customizations — mostly featuring a dyed upper and sole — Online Ceramics’ version stands out thanks to its colorful tie-dye effect, described by Abloh as a "GRATEFUL DEAD GLOW."
Till Jagla’s adidas YUNG-1 “Milka”
Till Jagla, aka @eartothestreet, put his own spin on adidas Originals’ YUNG-1 silhouette. The custom takes its name from the beloved German Milka chocolate brand, done up in the same shade of purple as seen on Milka wrappers. Jagla is trying to convince adidas to release his colorway, and as the YUNG-1 is one of adidas Originals’ hottest new silhouettes, we certainly wouldn’t mind seeing this custom made into an official release.
The Shoe Surgeon’s Nike React Element 87 “Leather”
The Nike React Element 87 is one of our favorite sneakers of 2018 anyway, so including The Shoe Surgeon’s ultra-luxe custom here is a no-brainer. Dominic Chambrone is one of the most well-known sneaker customizers in the game, creating sneakers other people only dream about. The leather React Element 87 is one of his best and fully deserving of a place on our list. The fact that they were available for purchase makes them even better in our eyes.
Matthew Walsh’s Nike Air Max 1 “Goku”
Earlier this year, we featured mockups of what a Nike x Dragon Ball Z collaboration might look like, courtesy of graphic designer Matthew Walsh, the highlight being the “Goku” Air Max 1. Now, the designer has brought his Air Max 1 “Goku” to life in the form of a one-of-one custom, to the collective joy of every Dragon Ball-loving sneakerhead out there.
Mache Custom Kicks’ Sean Wotherspoon x Nike Air Max 1/97 “Eclipse”
Mache Custom Kicks reworked Sean Wotherspoon’s hyped Nike Air Max 1/97 Air Max Day 2018 model for sneaker boutique Concepts. Dubbed “Eclipse,” the sneaker is a one-of-one and features a rejigged colorway, using darker, more muted hues than those found on the Wotherspoon pair that came out in March. The pair was never sold, as it was created purely for Concepts’ first-ever “Air Max Night” event.
What are your thoughts on the above customs? Let us know in the comments.
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