The Art of Sneaker Customization: A Guide for Creatives

campus banner

Shoe customization is more than just making a fashion statement. With more people embracing personal expression, the customization of shoes, especially sneakers, has been on the rise. It is the perfect way to showcase your personality and preferences. From hand painted designs to DIY studding, you can choose a design that suits your preferences best. Here is the ultimate guide for sneaker customization.

 1. Get the Right Sneakers

 The first step to the customization is having the shoes. When selecting the sneakers, it is crucial that you go for the ones with the right canvas for personalization, depending on your preferred art. This is because they are not equal, and some may not respond well to painting and drawing.

 For this reason, the best option is canvas sneakers due to their smooth surface. While leather sneakers may also be a good option, you may need to invest more in the preparation stage. You can get a perfect Adidas Campus on for your sneaker customization project.

 2. Pick Your Customization Tools

 With the shoes ready, your next step is gathering your tools. The ideal set of tools will make it easier for you to design your shoes. Some of the items you need include paints and brushes. For the paints, consider using acrylics as they are versatile and available in different colours. As for the brushes, ensure you get a variety of sizes to help you achieve different details.

 Other additional tools you may need are markers and stencils. Markers offer more precision and control when outlining or adding shoe details. If you have shaky hands or are worried of getting the right patterns, stencils will come in handy.

 3. Prepare Your Shoes

 The shoe preparation stage involves cleaning the sneakers and sanding the surfaces if necessary. Before painting the sneakers, ensure they are clean and free from oils and dirt. You can use a soft brush or mild detergent for this.

 Proceed to remove the laces and sand the shoe surfaces if need be. When working with leather sneakers, you must sand them so the paint can stick better on the surfaces. Remember to be gentle so as not to damage the material.

 If you have any areas you do not want to get the paint on, you need to mask them with painter’s tape. Some of these areas include the soles and logos. Masking ensures you get a clean and professional finish.

 4. Apply Your Design

 Here is the fun part, where you creatively transform your sneakers into a piece of work. To begin, sketch your design using a light pencil or stencil. Once you settle on the design, begin with your preferred base colour using a paintbrush. Be patient with yourself as this may take some time.

 Once the base colours are dry, add the highlights and details. It can be as simple as a glitter splash or intricate bold lines. The most interesting thing about the customization is that it is your design; you can make it as simple or as extensive as you desire.

 If you are happy with the design, let it completely dry to avoid smudging. It should take a few hours, depending on your paint type. The last step is sealing and protecting the customization so it doesn’t wear out quickly. Your best option is to use acrylic sealers, which do not crack or yellow.

 5. Maintain Your Customized Sneakers

 Now that your sneakers have been customized, you can rock them for different occasions. Still, it’s important to take extra care of the shoes. Avoid leaving them in harsh weather conditions (snow, heavy rain, scorching heat, etc). Doing this could easily lead to the complete damage of the sneakers.

 If the sneakers get dirty, gently clean them with a soft brush and mild soap. Remember that the shoes are a literal work of art, and you must treat them carefully.


 As we’ve seen, customizing your sneakers doesn’t need to be difficult. You just need to focus on your personal expression. Figure out what your story is and how you want to tell it through the art in your sneakers. Take your time and pick the right quality of sneakers, prepare them, and apply your design. Remember also to take care of the customized sneakers as they may be more delicate than regular ones.