DIY Shoes


Written by Tshepo Mokoena
Photos and illustrations by Joel Luks, Sharaf Vohidov, Maegan Tintari, Erica Chan Coffman
20 Monday 20th February 2012

This week we take a look at another way to get that 'new shoe feeling', from customising pairs you already have (or £3 pairs from Primark's basic section). Depending on how deep you want to go with this, you'll need tools ranging from a good amount of fabric glue and sequins to spray paint, sturdy thread and an Exacto knife. Let's get stuck in.

Glitter paste + plain plimsolls = a few steps away from the Miu Miu imitations

First up, we've got a lesson in detailed imitation, based on the Miu Miu glitter trainers pictured at the top. These over the top shoes came out in the design house's Autumn/Winter 2011 collection and caused quite the fashion furore for all the style magpies who'd never say no to a heavy dose of sparkle and shine. If you reckon you fit into that box, then this DIY will be right up your street.

All you’ll need to follow in the footsteps of Honestly WTF blogger Erica are a pair of plain white plimsolls, shedloads of glitter and rhinestones, some tape, a few brushes, enough adhesive and some white PVA glue (or decoupage glue). Marking out the sections, smothering the shoes in glitter then dotting them with rhinestones are the basic ways to get this look. It’s one for the brave, be aware.

Next up we’ve got some trainer reconstructions. These are for the more seasoned customisers out there as you’re going to end up unpicking stitches, pulling the shoes apart entirely, and then patching them back together with your own twist. A good recon is an attractive choice because, if pulled off well, your trainers will look and seem totally brand-new. Sneaker freaks out there will probably be more likely to gravitate towards this style, and put in the extra hours required.

Fresh & Fly Customs' trainer recon, before and after

Here for example we’ve got denim and snakeskin reformed Vans from Fresh & Fly Customs, made with a little sweat and a whole lot of devotion to the end result. He basically pulls off the original panels, uses templates cut from a new fabric and sews it all into a new look. The end result is clean and obviously one of a kind.

On a more detail-oriented level we’ve got these two tone brogues. They’re disgustingly cutesy, but minus the hearts are a fun and simple way to jazz up a plain pair of little boots. According to Elsie and Kinsey’s tutorial on A Beautiful Mess, all surface paint and a brush are really all you need here. This one’s easy, effective and a potential go-to for any indie girl who’s spent so much time on her crochet that she needs a quick fast-track to new brogues.

Finally, there’s a decorative fabric make-over in the style of these houndstooth heels. You could substitute the fabric for any other durable and relatively light cotton material, with the design of your choice. In this case, Maegan from Love Maegan goes for the classic heritage print over a pair of plain black pumps.

I personally like this one because it just involves slathering glue on a shoe and giving it a new face – I do wonder about its durability in a rainy city like London but we’ll cross that bridge.

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