custom made shoes

Can I get custom made shoes? Yes!

In the very recent past, custom-made shoes were only available to the very wealthy, and custom-made shoes were limited to handmade leather dress shoes. Frankly..boring!  Now, you can have almost any type of shoe custom-made.  What started 10 years ago as an experiment with a small shoe factory and a tiny start-up brand has become a real opportunity for all of us to get one-of-a-kind shoes. All the major shoe brands now offer custom shoes: Reebok, Converse, Nike, Puma, Adidas, Vans, New Balance, Keen, and Boombah etc. 

How can Nike, Puma, Adidas, Vans, and New Balance make custom shoes? Well, you are not getting a fully customized shoe, you are getting a custom color up of a shoe.  These “production” custom programs offered by big brands like Nike and Adidas have removed the “development” required for shoe production. The choices they offer on the website only require the shoe factory to pull the material from stock and cut the correct shapes for assembly. So, while not being a new pattern made just for you, you can get a wide range of colors to suit your personal taste, and can still be (almost) one of a kind.

Here are my reviews of the major custom-made shoe programs:

New Balance Custom Made Shoes
New_Balence_NB_CustomNew Balance offers 7 models of their classic suede running shoes for men and women. While this seems like a limited selection, it’s actually not very limited because you really only need a few offerings of this sort from New Balance – sweet, high-fashion trainers. The midsole options are limited and prices high, but I still like the New Balance custom shoe offerings.

Reebok Custom Made Shoes
Reebok_design_your_ownReebok has a nice offering of CrossFit, running, training, and classics ready for custom designs. Being a fan of the classics, I went straight to the Freestyle, with lots of options.  Overall it’s not the best. Plenty of models and options, but the overall presentation of the interface is just so-so.   Come to get your classics but ignore Reeboks’ otherwise weak custom offerings.

Nike Custom Made Shoes
NIke_IDWhat can you say? Nike does not mess around. A huge selection of models in every category and gender. Tons of color and material options and a slick interface. The whole program is very nice. Prices are not too crazy, and you are getting both new and classic models. I like what Nike has done here. I think they hit the sweet spot with the NFL team color dunks.

Van Custom Made Shoes
Vans_CustomVans Custom shoe program delivers the classics. That is all we need or want from them.  And I’ll say, they do it well.  All the classic models, tons of options, and great prices. I like how they post creations of other customers. My only nitpick is they don’t offer gum rubber foxing tape…hmmm. But overall, I like the Vans custom shoe program.

Keen Custom Made Shoes 
Build_Your_KeenI like that Keen is in the game offering custom-made outdoor shoes. I do wish there was a second option for men, but then again the Newport is really the model that drives the business. I guess every river guide will have a custom-made pair. Great custom interface, lots of upper choices. I do wish they had more choices for the outsole rubber color options. Overall I like Keen’s custom-made program, I just wish there was even more….so I could like more.