The sneaker industry has become so mainstream popular that you now have young teens saving up their allowance and Christmas money so they can buy multiple pairs of the latest and hottest releases and re-sell them to the highest bidder. Many “sneakerheads” are irritated by this new phenomenon and have begun to look for other ways to satisfy their shoe habit. The most popular outlet has become customization; whether you are going on a website like NikeID or Mi Adidas to make your own special colorway of a popular shoe that’s currently in store, or even seeking what I consider “shoe artists” to develop unique concepts and paint them on a shoe that has been released in stores to make them a wearable canvas of leather and rubber. One of the most sought after shoe artist is the designer Mache who has been commissioned to design unique designs for the one of the NBA’s best Lebron James.
But the ultimate customization takes place in the heart of the Big Apple at the 21 Mercer Nike streetstore location where you are given free reign to design your very own 1 of 1 Air Force-1 Bespoke sneaker. Unlike the Nike ID website where you are limited to certain color, fabric, and even type of sole, the Bespoke construction gives you full and complete range of what you want to do. But trust it comes at a major cost; unlike most Nike IDs which are usually only $30-$75 over standard retail price or even an artistic customization which may run you $300-$500 depending on the artist and what your concept is, the Mercer Bespoke will run you the hefty pricetag of $800. Now for some that may be out of your price range for a shoe that normally only cost $95 in the store, but you must consider that you are in full control of every aspect of the shoe from the eye-lit colors to the stitching and even the fabric style. A fellow shoe junkie friend of mine @1six_pix has had the pleasure of having his own bespoke constructed and used his admiration of MotorGP racer Valentino Rossi’s and his Ducati motorcycle to help make his air force-1 stand out in the crowd.
Because of that steep price there is a level of exclusivity that comes with having your own personal bespoke, and
perhaps one of the most popular concepts in cyber space now is the “Uncle Phil” bespoke in honor of Nike President and Oregon Alum Phil Knight. This isn’t the first time the university in Eugene has benefited from having some of the hottest uniforms and gear in all of sports. Fans have seen first hand the many (and that’s putting it lightly) uniform variations that the sports team wear and that is directly attributed to Mr. Knight. Jordan Brand fans have also seen unique colorways and designs of their favorite styles of shoes in ultra-exclusive and limited Pitstop III’s and Duck IV’s.
But this bespoke Air Force-1 design takes the cake in how unique it is with the usage of the signature bright yellow and green accent colors in the toebox and baseball stitch, the elephant print in the heel, patent leather, a gray base which allows the colors of the university to stand out more. and golden lace tips to complete the shoe (all which were derived from the Oregon duck trainer which is also shown in the collage)
And even before you ask, to quote the great rapper Jay Z, this design is a “none before it none to come” construction, meaning it will not be mass produced and just short of snatching them out of the hands of someone in Mr. Knight circle will never make it to the closet of the typical sneakerhead. But you are free to hop on Nike ID or schedule an appointment with Mercer 21 and attempt to make your own version, just know it may take you being like the youngsters in the NY Mag article and becoming a re-seller to be able to afford it.