These days, if you can't find a pair of sneakers that you like, then it's your own fault. Nike, Adidas, Vans and New Balance—among others—all let you customize your own shoes. Now Converse has unveiled its new online shop and you can choose almost every aspect of the shoe down to the stitching. Below, a comparative look at some of the major options in design-your-own kicks.
From leather high-tops to glow-in-the-dark Chuck Taylors, Converse has one of the most innovative selections of customizable shoes on the Internet. The site is also intuitive; just click on the part of the shoe you want to change and then select a color or print. You can tweak the outside body, inside body, heel stripe, tongue, lining, rubber sidewall, toe bumper, toe cap, racing stripe, eyelets, stitches, laces, and even add a short message. Excessive? Yes, in a great way. And unlike some competitors who charge $200 for certain models, prices on this site max out at $125. But be patient: Estimated delivery takes 2-3 weeks.
Nike iD still sets the standard when it comes to customizing your own footwear. Look good on the basketball court by tricking out the LeBron X or get noticed by street style blogs by tweaking your Air Force 1s. Almost every shoe Nike makes can be customized in a process that's as easy as point and click, with the ability to zoom in and view your shoes from every angle. Once you're finished, you can share your design on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter with a single button.
Looking to add a little more personality to your shoe than just changing up the colors? With miadidas, you can laser-etch your name on your shoe or have your jersey number embroidered on the back (opponents will see your number as you leave them in the dust). You can also represent your favorite pro team by adding their logo to your shoes.
Vans Kick it off Spicoli-style by putting your stamp on a pair of Vans. While the site isn't as comprehensive or as sleek as some of the other ones on this list, it still boasts some features such as ready-made templates (so you can see some good-looking examples and don't necessarily have to select each and every element of the design from scratch), plus the ability to save designs for later.
You can only choose between two models, but once you pick one, the sky is the limit. Not only can you view a large selection of colors, you can also dictate the material that each part is made of, ranging from suede to full-grain leather to mesh. Slap an eight-character personalized message on the heel and enjoy the fast shipping, with each pair arriving at your door in only six to 10 business days.
—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him @kwagstaff.
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