We could argue that the ability to design shoes online is always free—it’s just the “buying the shoe” part that costs money.
How we dress has long been an indicator of social status, occupation, or position. Take for example the saying “well-heeled” as a reference to the upper class, or the shorthand “slip-shod” to talk about poor craftsmanship. When you look at these phrases, you can see how our shoes and the status they bring became a huge part of everyday fashion.
But where can you buy custom shoes? Or better yet, how can you design your own sneakers? Here are the best places to design your own shoes online.
Zazzle is a great place to design your own sneakers online, ranging from slipons to high tops. With an easy-to-understand interface, Zazzle will immediately kick your creativity into high gear. This is especially true when you see all the ways that you can make your own shoes from scratch.
With Zazzle, the possibilities for designing custom shoes are endless. The website gives you unisex shoe styles to choose from.
When you open the edit screen, you’ll be taken to a 3D mockup of your shoe. Here, you can apply visual elements to your preferred style.
Take for example this shoe I’m designing. On the right side of the screen, you’ll see five expandable categories: Layers, Images, Icons, Text, and Shapes. In the bottom right-hand corner, you can also see a preview window of what your new custom shoes will look like.
Through Zazzle, you can change the color on your shoes, apply pre-made shapes, text, and emojis. You can also upload a piece of artwork and apply it, but we should stress that you should have permission to use this artwork first.
Zazzle will show you how to make your own shoes from scratch, but it’s very important to choose your shoe size before you start designing. Images will show up differently on different shoe sizes unless they are to-scale.
Once you have finished designing your own shoes online, click the Done button. Zazzle will take you back to your order screen.
On your order screen, you’ll see a mockup of your new shoe design from all sides. You can then add the shoes to your cart.
Note: These custom slipons would have cost me $74.90 plus applicable taxes, but there are different types of shoes on the website. As such, not all prices will be the same.
Nike By You is another place where you can design your own trainers online. Brought to you by Nike itself, this website offers a slick, simplified way to design your own sneakers to factory-specific standards. The pricing is competitive, and the application is easy to use.
In our opinion, Nike By You is one of the easiest ways to learn how to customize your shoes online. All you have to do is click on the Customize button, then pick a shoe from the list.
For this article, I’m going to design some sneakers that are wider in the toe. Once I click on a design I like, I can choose a shoe from some premade options, or I can edit a design instead. I’m going to click on Edit Design now:
While you cannot apply artwork or decals to these sneakers, you can change the colors on each individual part of the shoe. Each time you apply a new color, your previewed shoe will update automatically.
You can also click the < > arrows to cycle through different angles, to see what the shoes look like from each side.
After you’re finished designing your custom shoes, you can click on the Done button to go back to the order screen. Here are the updated shoes that I created:
Not bad if we don’t say so ourselves! With a price tag of $110.00, it’s not ridiculously expensive either. You can consider it money well spent.
As an aside: If you want to customize your “sporty” look even further, here’s some Apple Watch Sports Bands that you can buy for cheap.
Now by this point, we think it’s important to reiterate that we’re going for quality websites over quantity when it comes to our recommendations. We want to make sure that the shoe shops we’re talking about have a track record for bringing you the best possible gear.
With that in mind, the last place that we want to recommend is the Vans “Customs” option, where you can customize shoes for men, women, and kids.
Like Nike By You, Vans Customs can be designed in a slick, easy-to-use interface. You can choose between different colors, patterns, and fabrics to decorate each part of your shoe:
There doesn’t seem to be the option to add personal artwork, but Vans makes up for this by having premade art prints that you can apply, ranging from abstract patterns to animal prints. Just go to the Patterns section and you’ll find them.
As far as the price? Each shoe varies—and the type of material that you use can increase the price—but overall Vans are set at a reasonable cost, and comparable to Nike By You in terms of quality. We definitely recommend giving this site a quick look.
Design Your Own Sneakers Online
While buying custom shoes will never be 100% cheap, it’s safe to assume that you’ll get what you pay for when it comes to shoes, and you don’t want something that’s super cheap anyways.
Not only will you get something that’s as individualistic as you are, but you’ll wear something that’s well-made too. Customizing your shoes online through these services can work out to a great deal.
Looking for other ways that you can customize your life and the gear you carry around? Here’s a list of the best MacBook keyboard covers you can buy.