I’ll admit it: I went through the whole “custom” phase myself. I took a pair of black-and-white Nike SB Blazers, swabbed the Swoosh with acetone, and brushed it with gold acrylic paint. The goal was for them to look like the “Takashi” Nike Dunk SBs—and they kind of did, for a while, before the paint started to crack up and lose its metallic finish. Of course, I ultimately regretted the decision to go custom, but I don’t imagine it to be uncommon with sneakerheads. At some point, we all just want to try and do it ourselves. Folks take pleasure in recoloring or retooling their favorite sneakers in a way that makes them even more unique, and sometimes, that's a good thing.
But other times, it just doesn’t work. Whether it’s because of an overactive imagination or maybe a total failure of execution, some custom sneakers end up looking worse for it. Here are a few such DIY projects-gone-wrong that, we can all concur, should not have happened. “Walang basagan ng trip” can only go so far.
Air Jordan 5
This is easily the weirdest pair of sneakers we’ve ever seen, and yes, we’ve seen Jeremy Scott’s designs. These come from Instagram user @imran_potato, whose other works are subversions of the Gucci and Louis Vuitton monograms. He eventually took up a fascination with baby dolls, dressing one up in a Gucci monogram onesie, before eventually wasting a pair of Supreme x Air Jordan 5s on this weird custom job. Whether or not his works are purposely strange isn’t clear, but he’s certainly lost a solid pair of sneakers.
Nike Air Yeezy 2
Say what you want about the Yeezy 2, but Kanye West came up with some pretty solid colorways. But someone who was lucky enough to get his hands on a pair back in 2012, didn’t seem to think so. The funniest thing about these is that there seems to be a semblance of intent—as if he sort of knew what he wanted to do, but failed miserably in executing it. Let it be known that back in 2012, Yeezy 2s could go for up to $10,000 in market value. For shame.
Nike Zoom Lebron 9 “Lebronboutin”
Mache Custom Kicks is actually one of the more well-known sneaker customization outfits in the world, whose work is actually pretty respectable. But sometimes, the ideas just aren’t there. Take this pair of spiked Lebron 9s, made to look like a pair of Louboutins. Despite looking like he really put some effort into those spikes, the end result looks a little more like it should be named the Lebron 9 “Gimp.”
adidas Yeezy Boost 750 “Toy Story”
What an absolute waste of perfectly good shoes. What was Mache even thinking when he decided to do these? To answer the inevitable question: Yes, these do have “ANDY” written under the sole; and yes, sadly, there is in fact a Buzz Lightyear version, a Rex version, a Mr. Potatohead version, and a Jessie version.
Nike Zoom Lebron 9
This lovely number was customized by District Customs, and was given the name “Copper Slash.” That’s probably the best way to put it, considering the other name options that arise from how terrible this would-be mint-and-chip custom colorway turned out. It looks like Lebron walked out of Miami and accidentally stepped on a flaming bag of shit; or like it’s your foot’s time of the month, and it’s getting regla stains all over your shoes. “Copper Slash” does sound a lot more pleasant than Lebron 9 “Mint and Shit” or Lebron 9 “Mens Basketball,” so District gets props for that.
Air Jordan 4 “High Life”
We don’t even know what to make of this one. Customizer Smooth Tip dubbed this work “The High Life,” but the only imaginable correlation to height of any sort is that he might have been under some sort of influence while making these ugly pairs. What do they even mean? Why are the colors all over the place? What colorway were they in the first place? Oh, and they’re glow-in-the-dark.’’
Air Jordan 4 “Wheaties”
Jordan Brand itself is guilty of tapping into the banal parts of Michael Jordan’s persona to create a new colorway of his shoes. But this custom pair of 4s takes the cake (or rather, the cereal). His Airness was once the poster boy of Wheaties cereal. To pay homage to this, customizer EmmanuelLabor decided to paint a pair of Military Blue 4s orange, adding cereal to the side panels and a milk-like substance in a pouch on the tongue. What the actual fuck.
Air Jordan 4 “Grinch”
This one defies expectations in a lot of ways. One one hand, you see the effort: The customizer even bothered to make and place a Grinch-themed Jumpan logo stitched on the tongue. But on the other hand, what the fuck was he thinking?
Air Jordan 5
This is pitiful, because of just how terribly these were done. You can see the intention to create a red-and-yellow colorway set against black, but these must have been done without much premeditation. Plus points for trying to place a “23” using paint. You tried.
Nike Foamposite “Pizza”
“It sounded like a good idea at the time, especially because I was pretty hungry. But…”
Air Jordan 6 “Freddy”
I mean, I get it--the Nike SB Dunk Low was pretty cool in a Freddy Kreuger-inspired colorway. But this particular Air Jordan 6 does not.