Customizing has transformed from a niche market into a big part of the sneaker culture over the past few years. The game is littered with DIY professionals who sell their services, along with members of a newer, more rebellious subculture who take a product and make it theirs by giving it a unique work-over.

It’s fair to say that most people want to break free and add individuality and exclusivity to their kicks, however, some might not know where to start. Recently, the sharpie-custom trend has come back around thanks to @joshuavides.

To make it easier for you, we’ve rounded up a few techniques you can use to give your sneakers a personal touch and complemented that with a list of products that will elevate your sneaker customizing skills.

Peep the list below, which includes inspiration from some of the best on Instagram.


The best paint for customising is Angelus acrylic paint, as the brand is known for being the longest lasting, most durable and incredibly vibrant on various materials.

Angelus Acrylic

Angelus Acrylic



Buy at amazon

Peep the inspiration below.

Fine brushes

Using the correct brush will make a huge difference to the end result, keeping your lines clean and precise. A strong and high quality brush is essential when working with acrylic paint.

Fine Paint Brush Set



Buy at amazon

Check out some of the masters at work below.

Reconstructing tools

A sharp knife allows you to distress parts of your sneaker that are hard to reach or, alternatively, completely remove parts you no longer want. Experimenting with various grades of sand paper is also a good way to distress different materials.

Paraframe II Knife



Buy at amazon

Check out the inspiration below.

Embroidery pen

Embroidery pens aren't for newbie customizers, but they work especially well on canvas and speeds up the process, poking thread through the material so you can avoid sitting there and trying to get the perfect stitch for hours.

Embroidery Tool


PDK Sooner

Buy at amazon

@frecustoms is one of the best when it comes to custom embroidery.


Airbrushing is another clean and easy way to customize your sneakers. Pairing the technique with a stencil can make for some beautiful designs.

Air Brush Kit



Buy at amazon

Once again, check out some inspiration from Instagram below.

In other sneaker news, here’s what a Dragon Ball Z x Nike collaboration could look like.

To stay informed about new releases, be sure to follow Highsnobiety on Twitter, and Instagram, as well as our sneaker chatbot on Facebook to receive lightning quick updates on release dates, sneaker street style, shopping tips and more.

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  • Main & Featured Image Left:@blvckmvnivc / Instagram
  • Main & Featured Image Right:@joshuavides / Instagram

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