Earlier this week Gabe aka The Sole Seeker had a certain customizing forum’s attention when he posted his Nike “Blue Lobster” Dunk SB with a Nike Air Force 1 sole. This has been seen before at sneaker shows notably the Supreme Dunk SB with AF1 sole sticks out in my mind as one of the first to cause a stir. Though they had all been made by Nike. This is the first time a customizer has cleanly presented the finished sole swap as a custom. Not that other people have not or could not, it just has not been seen. So I contacted Gabe for more on the story behind his sole swapping venture:
What inspired you to attempt this customizing of switching uppers and soles of Dunks and AF1?
The inspiration came from 2 things, Chi McBride and a pair of Jordan Six Rings I did. I’ve been in the shoe game since ‘95 and my favorite shoe is the Space Jam AJ XI so when the 6 rings dropped I wanted a Space Jam colorway since they looked relatively alike. So I took a Concord and Bred 6 rings and mated the Bred upper to the Concord bottom and made my own Space Jam 6 Rings. I did not wanna just paint the concord upper cause I wanted it to look original so that’s what started the whole Decon-Recon thing for me and once I saw the Chi McBride photo of his Unkle Dunk SB highs x AF1 bottoms I had to have it, so out of necessity my Dunk Force 1 or DF-1 were created.
What shoes have you used and created so far?
After making the Space Jam 6 Rings my first crack at the Dunk Force 1 was with a black dunk and a safari AF1 only because I got them cheap (25 bucks each size 14). I swapped the soles on both and made the shoe both ways: Dunk upper x AF1 sole and AF1 upper x Dunk sole, they came out pretty clean so that’s what I learned from and kept going. After that I made the Grip Tape low DF-1 using a AF1 mid and the Grip Tape Low, then the Blue Lobster DF-1, I made a pair for my soon to be born son using toddler dunks and Forces . Currently I’m working on an all white Dunk upper to an AF-1 ice bottom that I going to laser engrave. If you see the grip tape low you’ll see the side is laser engraved to say Dunk Force 1 it’s another aspect to my customs.
How long does it take to finish a complete pair?
It takes a few hours never timed the whole process but I do not do them all at once.
You said the Mayor wanted to buy a pair? Where and which pair?
Well I first displayed the Space Jam 6 rings, my lasered shoes and the Griptape DF-1 at the Funk master Flex Show in Edison NJ. Mayor was there he came by checked out my table and did not notice the griptape we talked about lasering and what not and that was it. Curtis one of the owners of the DunkxChange came over and we have a good relationship so when he noticed it he went crazy “I need a pair let me go show Clark Kent” so he couldn’t find Clark but he found Mayor and he took a look and had sent for me to come over cause he wanted to talk to me about buying them. We talked a little and it came down to me explaining its my personal pair I do not wanna let go it cause it’s my first, but I would happily make him one under certain terms if he sent me the base shoes. Really cool guy. Overall a lot people really liked the work I did and it was a big buzz. I heard a few comments made about the shoes from Clark and Mayor through a second party and basically Mayor mentioned they were a 8 out of 10. Whether he meant by idea, style or construction I do not know. Clark, not to me, had said he was flattered because nobody was into it before he started doing it and that my customs were fake because they weren’t from Nike. Ultimately I took it as the biggest form of flattery and it actually inspired me to make a better product.
What has the general reaction in person been like?
Everyone that knows about what the swap is, are always intrigued about it, all my friends want them and soon hopefully I’ll get them done.
Future combos you are going to try?
As for future combo’s there are a few I have cooking but I do not wanna mention anything other than the next two will be high tops and the other really expensive one of those you’ll hear people say “wow he cut one of those!!”
How much would you charge?
The labor starts at $150 and there are add ons from there like laser engraving, shoe trees, custom boxes and patent leather panels.
Thanks to Gabe for sharing his story. I see this as starting another trend in customizing: the “sole swap”. I like it. For inquiries about Gabe’s work check out his blog: The Sole Seeker Update