College Studio: Feet

Spruce up your walkies!

Sarah Harper


During these recent windows of warmth, we’ve been able to leave our fur-lined boots at home a few weeks early.

If you’ve been embarrassed by how plain your feet look, you may have been avoiding breaking out the Keds. 

Here are some ways you can customize your kicks easily:


The good folks at Nike don’t want anyone to be productive:

You can wile away the hours on their website, picking different color combinations for your dream Dunks. This customization deal is why you sometimes see people wearing heinously colored Nikes. To its credit, it’s a great source of inspiration. Take this moment to reflect — what colors do you like? What kind of a “feel” are you going for here?

Pro tip: Adidas and Converse also have website features like this.



You need shoes. Really, you should use shoes you already have. I don’t want you to mess up a brand new pair of Converse. Even sandals can be customized with a little bedazzling, but I’d like to focus on gym shoes here, because there’s more solid space to work with. Also, I never want to condone or promote anyone gluing rhinestones onto their Old Navy flip flops — unsavory.

Any kicks with a lightly colored base are perfect for what I’m about to show you.



There are a million ways to do this. But you want your customization to look polished and intentional, not like you were bored in class and went H.A.M. on your shoes with a rogue marker.

So plan out everything you do with a pencil and give your design ideas a few days to settle before you execute them. There’s nothing worse than ruining a pair of good shoes.

Here are some things you can do:


Method #1: Color-blocking

Find a Sharpie in your favorite shade or break out the acrylics. Then get all Mark Rothko and make large squares on different parts of your kicks.

Method #2: Outlining

This technique works well with Dunks and other detailed kicks. Outlining the Swoosh, outlining the New Balance N, rimming the wing-tip – it all screams “Look! I’m wearing shoes!” Go for the cartoonish sensibility but avoid an immature look by using a thin marker.

Method #3: Drawing

Put the Minneapolis skyline on your heel. Draw a hand giving a peace sign on the side. Go crazy.

Again, you don’t want to look like an amateur. So draw everything in pencil carefully and stick to one single color. Avoid using too much detail. Contour lines, baby. Clear eyes, steady hands — can’t lose.

Method #4: Multimedia

Here’s where we get a little kooky, so I recommend that  vanilla readers quit now.

Glitter: Put some strong, smooth glue onto select parts of your kicks and conservatively apply glitter. I cannot stress the word conservatively enough. Think Reagan.

Newsprint: Put a piece of newspaper up against your shoe and then paint it with alcohol, like you’re putting a temporary tattoo on your shoes. Remove the newspaper, and you’ve got a newsprinted shoe. The ink will probably wash off if you go out in the rain. Still fun.

Lacing: There are so many ways to tie laces. Don’t be constrained by the ol’ back and forth cross-over you’ve been brainwashed to love. Start off by searching “how to bar lace” and “two laces, one shoe.” Go crazy.