By far the biggest happenings for footwear customization in 2016 was that of the attention given to customized cleats on the football field. Players in the National Football League like Odell Beckham Jr, Antonio Brown, and Avery Williamson lead headlines of being fined and reprimanded for essentially expressing themselves through wearing custom cleats. The attention those and many other players received lead to the NFL creating a charity initiative mid-season called My Cause, My Cleats. Instead of disallowing players from wearing customized cleats, league officials encouraged them to wear them to bring awareness to a cause or charity of the players’ choice. Of course behind the hundreds of cleats worn this football season are a list of independent sneaker customizers.
As sneaker customization itself has grown to the point that PaintOrThread personally has a list of hundreds of artists we follow, the past two years has seen more artists go beyond the average basketball sneaker to that of a football or baseball cleat. That’s probably only going to grow after the success of the NFL’s #MyCauseMyCleats. Realizing that, USA Today’s ForTheWin caught up with three sneaker customizers who’ve had consistent work on the NFL field this past season: Mache Customs, Kickasso Customs, and illustrative Crea8ions. To read what these three have to say about how they got into customizing cleats and a bit of what working with NFL players takes, check the interview at ForTheWin.com