Once a niche segment of the hobby, customization has evolved into one of the pillars of sneaker collecting over the years. No longer are artists just painting kicks — they’re stripping down the materials and recreating silhouettes with an entirely new vision. Brands like Nike and adidas have even commissioned top customizers to work on official projects.

Further validation has been given by athletes and entertainers, who have showcased customs on some of the biggest platforms. LeBron James even wore a pair of 'Iron Man' Nike LeBron 10s by Mache when practicing for the NBA Finals in 2013.

From the early styling of Methamphibian, SBTG and Sekure D to fresh faces like JBF, Revive and Dank, custom sneakers have come a long way — here’s the 50 best.

50. Nike Air Force 1 'Misplaced Checks' by The Shoe Surgeon

Nike Air Force 1 Misplaced Checks by The Shoe Surgeon

Year: 2015


49. Nike Air Zoom Flight The Glove 'Freddy Krueger' by FBCC

Nike Air Zoom Flight the Glove 'Freddy Krueger' by FBCC

Year: 2014


48. Nike Air Yeezy 'Oregon' by JBF Customs

Nike Air Yeezy 'Oregon' by JBF Customs

Year: 2014


47. Nike Air Max 'Black' by Kickasso

Nike Air Mag 'Black' by Kickasso

Year: 2013


46. Nike Zoom Soldier 8 'Boo-Yah' by Dank Customs

Nike Zoom Soldier 8 'Boo-Yah' by Dank Customs

Year: 2015


45. Nike Dunk High 'Galaxy' by Sekure D

Nike Dunk High 'Galaxy by Sekure D

Year: 2008


44. Nike Dunk Low Pack for In4mation by Methamphibian

Nike Dunk Low Pack for In4mation by Methamphibian

Year: 2008


43. Nike LeBron 10 'Air Max 95' by Mache

Nike LeBron X 10 Air Max 95 by Mache

Year: 2013


42. Air Jordan 11 'Red Carpet' by Mache

Air Jordan XI 11 Red Carpet by Mache

Year: 2015


41. Nike Air Force 1 for Robert Kraft by Leah Miller

Nike Air Force 1 for Robert Kraft by Leah Miller

Year: 2014:


40. Air Jordan 4 'Playstation' by FreakerSNEAKS

Air Jordan IV 4 Playstation by FreakerSNEAKS

Year: 2014


39. Nike Air Max 90 'Pigeon' by oROSOo

Nike Air Max 90 Pigeon by oROSOo

Year: 2010


38. Nike Air Yeezy 'Red October' by JBF Customs

Nike Air Yeezy 'Red October' by JBF Customs

Year: 2013


37. Air Jordan 14 'Laney Mid' by Mache

Air Jordan XIV 14 Laney Mid by Mache

Year: 2014


36. Air Jordan 3 'atmos' by Gordo & PKZUNIGA

Air Jordan III 3 atmos by Gordo & PKZUNIGA

Year: 2014


35. Nike Air Yeezy 2 'White Ostrich' by Relevant Customs

Nike Air Yeezy 2 'White Ostrich' by Relevant Customs

Year: 2014


34. Nike Kyrie 1 'Watch the Throne' by Mache

Nike Kyrie 1 'Watch the Throne' by Mache

Year: 2015


33. Nike Kobe 9 Elite 'Iron Man' by Mache

Nike Kobe IX 9 Elite 'Iron Man' by Mache

Year: 2015


32. Nike Dunk High 'Prison Blues' by SBTG

Nike Dunk High Prison Blues by SBTG

Year: 2009


31. Air Jordan 4 'Green Glow Python' by JBF Customs

Air Jordan IV 4 Green Glow by JBF Customs

Year: 2014


30. Nike Air Tech Challenge 2 'Buscemi Remix' by Dank Customs

Nike Air Tech Challenge 2 Buscemi Remix by Dank Customs

Year: 2014


29. Nike Roshe Run 'Cement' by JP Customs

Nike Roshe Run Cement by JP Customs

Year: 2014


28. Nike Zoom LeBron 6 'President Obama' by LeBron James

Nike LeBron VI 6 President Obama by LeBron James

Year: 2008


27. Nike Air Force 1 Mid by JBF Customs

Nike Air Force 1 BAPE by JBF Customs

Year: 2013


26. Air Jordan 1 'NYE Python' by JBF Customs

Air Jordan I 1 NYE Python by JBF Customs

Year: 2013


25. adidas Energy Boost 'BAPE' by C2

adidas Energy Boost 'Bape' by C2

Year: 2014


24. adidas JS 'Bad BeAr' by Revive Customs

adidas JS 'Bad BeAr' by Revive Customs

Year: 2014


23. Nike Air Yeezy 2 'Net' by Maggi

Nike Air Yeezy II 2 Net by Maggi

Year: 2014


22. Nike LeBron 10 for Matthew Walzer by Nike

Nike LeBron X 10 for Matthew Walzer by Nike

Year: 2012


21. Nike LeBron 9 'R.I.P. Trayvon' by LeBron James

Nike LeBron IX 9 'R.I.P. Trayvon' by LeBron James

Year: 2012


20. Nike Air Force 1 Low 'Tech Challenge' by C2

Nike Air Force 1 Low 'Tech Challenge' by C2

Year: 2005


19. Nike LeBron 10 'Doernbecher 6' by Dank Customs

Nike LeBron X 10 Doernbecher 6 by Dank Customs

Year: 2014


18. Nike Zoom Revis 'MAG' by Wolfstein

Nike Zoom Revis 'MAG' by Brian Villanueva

Year: 2013


17. ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Banned' by Dank Customs

ASICS GEL-Lyte III 'Banned' by Dank Customs

Year: 2015


16. Air Jordan 1 'Royal Python' by JBF Customs

Air Jordan I 1 Royal Python by JBF Customs

Year: 2013


15. Nike LeBron 10 'Iron Man' by Mache

Nike LeBron X 10 Iron Man by Mache

Year: 2013


14. Nike Air Foamposite Pro 'Evil Dead' by Revive Customs

Nike Air Foamposite Pro Evil Dead by Revive Customs

Year: 2012


13. Air Jordan 11 'Derek Jeter' by Dank Customs

Air Jordan XI 11 'Derek Jeter' by Dank Customs

Year: 2014


12. Nike KD 5 'MAG' by kenny23forever

Nike KD V 5 'MAG' by kenny23forever

Year: 2014


11. Nike Air Max 95 'Nyan Cat' by Revive Customs

Nike Air Max 95 'Nyan Cat' by Revive Customs

Year: 2013


10. Nike Air Max 1 Burst 'atmos' Hybrid by Dank Customs

Nike Air Max 1 Burst 'atmos' Hybrid by Dank Customs

Year: 2015

It's one thing to give a custom look to a sneaker as-is — it's another to piece together two beloved models for a hybrid that stands out on its own. And it also showed that there are many facets to Dank's expertise in the field.


9. Nike Air Tech Challenge 2 'Black Cement' by Wolfstein

Nike Air Tech Challenge 'Black Cement' by Wolfstein

Year: 2015

Known for its vibrant splatter, the Air Tech Challenge was updated with another iconic print by Wolfstein. And if there were any doubts about how well this custom turned out, #WDYWT photos from Andre Agassi himself erase them.


8. Nike Kobe 9 Elite Lows by Dank Customs

Nike Kobe 9 Elite Low by Dank Customs

Year: 2014

With such a polarizing design, there were some sneakerheads that predictably preferred the Nike Kobe 9 Elite in low-cut form. Nike eventually obliged, but for coveted colorways that weren't available in lows, Dank started doing his own conversions. And you wouldn't be able to tell if you didn't know better.


7. Air Jordan 11 'Bred' by Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan XI 11 'Bred' by Tinker Hatfield

Year: 2013

Sole Collector turned 10 in 2013, and to celebrate, we held a company party in Portland. There, founder Steve Mullholand was presented with this 'Bred' Air Jordan 11, personalized by its original designer — Tinker Hatfield.


6. Air Jordan 4 'Black Python' by JBF Customs

Air Jordan IV 4 Black Python by JBF Customs

Year: 2013

Trying to pick your favorite 'Python' JBF custom is like picking your favorite child. In this instance, the black and red Air Jordan 4 is the kid who won out. Perhaps he wasn't the first, but JBF is the best at python customs and he completely raised the bar when he started releasing them regularly a few years back.


5. Air Jordan 1 'Chicago' Ankle Straps PE by Nike

Air Jordan 1 'Chicago' Ankle Strap PE by Nike

Year: 1986

After missing most of his sophomore season with a broken foot, it's believed that Jordan return to work in this custom version of the 'Chicago' Air Jordan 1 with a built-in strap system for extra support. When this extreme rare pair hit the auction block back in 2011, it was rumored that Nike bought it back.


4. Air Jordan 4 'Louis Vuitton Don' by Dank Customs

Air Jordan IV 4 Louis Vuitton Don by Dank Customs

Year: 2014

Because this custom turned out so well the first time, Dank was asked by Wale to create a pair for him. With cues borrowed from Kanye West's Louis Vuitton sneaker, the 'Don' 4 is one of the best executed concepts of all-time.


3. Nike Kobe 9 Elite 'UCONN' by Mache

Nike Kobe 9 Elite UCONN by Mache

Year: 2014

If customizing sneakers is your deal, it probably doesn't get much bigger than having the opportunity to create an official piece for Nike. To celebrate the UCONN Lady Huskies' 9th championship in 2014, Mache was officially commissioned by Nike to create this Kobe 9 Elite for head coach Geno Auriemma. The shoe features a pattern of elements inspired by the legendary leader.


2. Nike Air Foamposite One 'Sharpie' by Penny Hardaway

Nike Air Foamposite One 'Sharpie' by Penny Hardaway

Year: 1997

A custom before customs, Penny Hardaway's Sharpied-in Foamposites were more about necessity than style. Somehow, the 'Royal' Foams didn't meet NBA standards in 1997, as they called for more black to match the Orlando Magic's uniforms. Instead of waiting for a new design from Nike, Hardaway took matters into his own hands and filled the grooves of the Foam shell with a black sharpie marker. The shoe, essentially Penny's 'Banned' model, is officially being released this year.


1. Nike Air Penny 1 'All-Star' by Dank Customs

Nike Air Penny 1 All-Star by Dank Customs

Year: 2014

The 1996 NBA All-Star Game is arguably the most memorable of them all. Not only did the exhibition deliver, but it was stylistically unlike anything before or after it. The actual 'All-Star' Nike Air Penny 1 worn by Penny Hardaway in that game is actually pretty tame and was re-released to mixed reactions last year. Understanding that the motif speaks for itself, Dank brought the teal and San Antonio fiesta print from the East uniform to Penny's debut sig. The final product is a shoe that captures the very essence of what everybody loves about All-Star '96.