Sole Brother Custom Sneakers
When Matt Francois from Sole Brother Custom Sneakers sent me pictures of his latest creations, I was instantly intrigued. The Winnipeg-based Francois creates very inventive designs that are both beautiful and durable and look as if the shoe was manufactured that way. They are the kind of shoes that immediately attract attention.
The process of getting custom sneakers is a little more involved than a quick trip to the shoe store but the results are unique. When he designs shoes he provides customers with a computer generated mock-up for approval. Each custom design is hand done and after it is finished, they coat the shoe with a protective layer which resists water and physical damage. The shoes costs between $400 - $700 which includes the design fee, the base shoe, and free shipping. They specialize in sneakers but can customize high heels, hand bags, belts, wallets, and anything else made of leather or other similar materials.
The gallery below features some of the Sole Brother Custom Sneaker designs. After seeing these designs I still had more questions about the work of the custom shoe designers so click through to read my mini-interview with Matt Francois including the wildest shoe request he ever received.
Gallery: Sole Brother Custom Sneakers
I began customizing shoes when I realized there was a lack of truly unique and original sneakers in the marketplace. Sneakers were becoming more and more colourful, and sneaker culture was taking off, but it still seemed like every shoe followed the same basic template. Nothing perfectly matched my particular style, personality, or way of life. So, I decided to put my graphic design and fine art background to good use and try designing my own! I started making pairs for myself, and then for my friends. After receiving innumerable compliments, head turns, and offers to purchase, I decided to start up Sole Brother Custom Sneakers and take my passion to a professional level. I have been customizing for over 4 years now and each shoe I do is something unique and different.
2) What is the process for designing your customizations, how long does each design take?
In my opinion, the design stage is the most important part of shoe customization, as it has a huge impact on the quality of the final product. It all starts with a client's idea and concept for what sort of shoe they are looking for. I then take their rough ideas, and brainstorm for designs which will look aesthetically pleasing on a shoe. After I come up with something which meets the criteria of the customer, I proceed to create a digital mock-up of the finished piece. Once the client approves the design, we begin production. Depending on how specific the client's ideas are, the design stage can last from a few hours up to a week or so.
The actually customization is a long process, generally taking a couple of weeks to complete (depending on the complexity of the design). We make every effort to produce shoes of comparable quality to something you would buy off the shelf, but with a unique, one of a kind look that you can only get from a custom job.
3) What's the wildest request you've ever gotten?
Probably the wildest request I have ever received from a client involved shoes incorporating pieces of real human hair and nails into the design. I never actually produced this pair, and for that, I am somewhat glad. :)
4) If you could create a pair of custom shoes for anyone in the world who would it be and what kind of shoes would you create?
I would love to make shoes for a top sprinter or tennis player someday. Seeing someone at the top of their sport excel while wearing my shoes would be a very rewarding experience. The design would have to somehow capture the dynamic motion of the sport, and inspire those who see the shoes to be the best they can be.