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Custom Sneaker Spotlight: May 2021

Technique and precision was the key to some of the stand out custom sneakers by Angelus Direct sponsored artists this month. Whether it was exacting taping or detailed painting, here are some custom sneakers to inspire you and your projects.

(source: @alexanderjohndesign)

This pair from Nike x sacai are given a new look by @alexanderjohndesign with a precisely taped design and a reversed logo. ⁠The design on the logo and mudguard used tape to create an intricate pattern. The red Nike and logo add some color to this black and white shoe.

(source: @astrotorfcustoms)

Sneakers on the half shell? Cowabunga dudes! @astrotorfcustoms creates a Ninja Turtles inspired pair of customs that features realistic shell detailing that even has the shine and texture of turtle shell (or at least an animated one). The light green uppers and soles are the perfect compliment for this turtle themed look.

(source: @bbizon)

Sponsored artist @bbizon took inspiration from the Disney canon and couldn't seem to pick just one character to highlight. From Nemo to Winnie the Pooh, these custom sneakers feature everyone's favorite Disney character. With so many characters to paint a set of Angelus Micro Detail Paint Brushes are a great choice for making sure every detail is perfect.

To see more customs like these make sure to follow Angelus on Instagram and tag us in your own custom creations.

Angelus Tutorial: How to Dye Soles & Paint Mesh

Depending on the materials you're working with, you'll have to use different methods and materials to ensure your custom sneaker design lasts as long as possible without chipping, cracking, or peeling.

To demonstrate how to paint mesh, plastic, and dye soles, Jake from @visionarykickz created a custom Air Max 720 tutorial. Follow along to learn the proper way to paint soft materials and customize translucent soles.

Cotton Candy Air Max 720

Customizing Air Max 720 with Angelus Paints & Dyes

To get started, you'll just need a few basic materials:

  • Angelus Acrylic Leather Paint
  • Angelus Leather Dye
  • Angelus Sole Bright
  • Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer
  • Angelus Paint Brush Set
  • Angelus 2-Soft
  • Angelus 2-Hard
  • Airbrush
  • Masking Tape
  • Heat gun

Once you get your materials, follow these steps to create your own custom leather clothing.

1. Prep

Prep is the most important step of any custom project. Prepping the shoe properly helps ensure the paint adheres to the shoe and doesn't wear easily.

Leather Preparer & Deglazer bottle

First, use Angelus Preparer & Deglazer and a cotton pad to wipe down and prep the midsole on the Air Max 720s. Since the upper is made of mesh, you don't need to use this to remove the factory finish as you normally would with leather shoes.

Masking tape on shoe

Then, use masking tape to tape off the areas of the shoe that you don't want to paint in the next step. This includes the translucent soles and the hard overlays on the upper.

2. Painting Mesh

After prepping the shoe, you can start painting the mesh upper. For these customs, Jake used Hot Pink and Light Blue paint for a cotton candy colorway.


Since we're painting mesh, which is a soft, porous material, you need to use Angelus 2-Soft to ensure the paint adheres and remains flexible. Use a 1:1 ratio of paint to 2-Soft to prevent the fabric from hardening after the paint sets.

Airbrushing the shoe

Once the paint is prepared, use an airbrush to carefully apply several thin layers of paint, making sure to let each layer dry before adding another. Use a heat gun at 300 degrees for three to five minutes to set the paint.

3. Dyeing Soles

After you finish painting the upper, you can remove the masking tape to dye the soles. For translucent soles, we recommend a 1:1 ratio of Angelus Dye to Angelus Sole Bright. For these customs, the artist used Light Blue and Rose Dye.

Dyeing soles

Use a paintbrush to apply light and even coats, allowing each coat to fully dry. Be careful not to oversaturate the brush so the dye doesn't bleed onto other areas of the shoe.

Allow the dye to fully dry, then use a cloth to wipe down the soles with alcohol or warm water and soap to remove excess dye. You may need to repeat this process a couple of times to get full coverage.

4. Painting Plastic

To finish the customs, Jake used Flat White paint to paint the plastic Nike logos on the shoe's midsection.

Painting plastic

Whereas 2-Soft helps paint adhere to soft fabrics, 2-Hard helps paints adhere to hard materials like plastic. Mix 2-Hard with your acrylic paint to ensure a strong, long-lasting finish.

More Custom Tutorials

If you want to see more custom tutorials like this one, make sure to subscribe to the Angelus YouTube channel to learn tips and techniques from more experienced sneaker artists.

Also, make sure to follow Angelus on Instagram and check out our online store to grab the materials you need to recreate these custom 720s!

Custom Sneaker Spotlight: January 2021

We're kicking the year off right with a collection of some of the best customs from January 2021. From Miles Morales AF1s to Stewie Griffin Jordan 1s, sneaker artists have been busy designing some creative colorways and concepts.

Check out the customs below, stop by our online store to grab the paint and tools you need to make your own unique creations.

Miles Morales Air Force 1

Miles Morales Air Force 1

(source: @kingdom_made)

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales was the perfect introduction to the PlayStation 5, and in response, sponsored artist @kingdom_made designed a custom pair of Miles Morales-inspired Air Force 1s.

These customs feature a midnight blue and white base color scheme, with Miles Morales' mask-covered portrait spans the outward-facing side panels. On the inward-facing side, a custom spiderweb Nike Swoosh sits on top of a spiderweb pattern and is marked by a graffiti Spider-Man tag.

Boba Fett Jordan 1

Boba Fett Jordan 1

(source: @colormefresh)

With The Book of Bob Fett expected to release this year, one of Star Wars' most recognizable characters is getting his own Disney+ series, and these customs by @colormefresh are the perfect way to prepare for the highly-anticipated show.

Designed to match the famous bounty hunter's armor, these custom Jordan 1s feature a worn, vintage effect in the same vein as Boba Fett's tattered armor. Worn brown laces, faded soles, battered green overlays, and other details complete the colorway.

Stewie Griffin Jordan 1

Stewie Griffin Jordan 1

(source: @tragik1993)

These Stewie Griffin Jordan 1s were a collaborative effort between sponsored artist @tragik1993 and @johnnyskicks_, featuring tongue tags by @herbjuice and insoles made by @dnicecustoms.

The colorway is inspired by Stewie's iconic outfit, including red overlays that represent his red overalls and yellow toe boxes and eyelets to represent the undershirt. The shoe features bold black outlines to give it a cartoonish style in the same vein as Family Guy.

Lionheart Yeezy 350

Lionheart Yeezy 350

(source: @gorgworld)

Some of the best customs go beyond simple colorway alterations and feature some truly incredible artwork, like these custom Yeezy 350s created by sneaker artist @gorgworld.

Each shoe features half of the same lion portrait, so when worn together, they complete the detailed image. These customs are completely hand-painted to achieve maximum realism.

MBDTF Air Force 1

MBDTF Air Force 1

(source: @customsbyleanne)

Kanye West has one of the greatest discographies in hip-hop, and many consider My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to be his peak. In honor of this iconic album, sneaker artist @customsbyleanne painted these custom MBDTF-inspired Air Force 1s.

The artwork is inspired by the album's different covers. One shoe features a custom pixelated Swoosh, while the other is modeled after the cover art that includes Kanye's sword-impaled head situated in front of a hand-painted blue sky.

To see more customs like these, make sure to follow Angelus on Instagram and tag us in your own custom creations.

Angelus Tutorial: Jordan 11 Patent Leather Walkthrough

One of the most popular Jordan silhouettes, the Jordan 11 is a great shoe for customizing and color swapping, but working with patent leather can be a little tricky if you haven't done it before. If you don't take the proper steps to prep and finish the material, you risk damaging it beyond repair.

To help you create your own custom Jordan 11s, Suheel from @feelgoodthreads stopped by to create a thorough tutorial on how to work with patent leather without damaging it.

Follow along below and make sure to check out the full video on YouTube to learn how to safely design a pair of custom 11s.

Custom Jordan 11 Walkthrough

Before getting started, here are the materials you're going to need to make these customs:

  • Angelus Leather Paint
  • Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer
  • Masking Tape
  • Adhesion Promoter
  • Airbrush
  • Airbrush Filter
  • Vinyl Tape
  • Sand Paper

Once you have your materials ready to go, follow these steps to prep and paint the patent leather on a pair of Jordan 11s.

1. Sanding Patent Leather

To make sure your paint adheres to the shoe, you need to start by sanding the patent leather to remove the glossy top coat.

Sanding the shoe

Use 320-grit wet sandpaper to carefully sand down the glossy finish, but be careful not to sand any of the threading on the leather.

Make sure to sand down the crease spots at the edges of the toe box. Otherwise, your paint will most likely crack when you wear the shoes and form a natural crease. After sanding use compressed air or a microfiber cloth to get rid of any remaining dust and debris.

2. Prepping Patent Leather

Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer helps promote adhesion by getting rid of the shoe's factory finish and leaving a completely clean surface for you to paint.

Applying Leather Preparer and Deglazer

Simply use a microfiber cloth or cotton swab to apply the Leather Preparer and Deglazer to the shoe. Make sure to wipe down the entire leather portion of the shoe to ensure you have a smooth, even surface to work with. Let the solution completely dry before moving on.

Taping the shoe

Then, use masking tape to tape off the portions of the shoe that you don't want to paint. For this project, Suheel made sure to tape off the soles and the ankle collars to protect these areas while painting.

Lastly, to strengthen the bond between the leather and the paint, apply two to three light coats of adhesion promoter, waiting five to 10 minutes in between each coat to let the adhesion promoter dry.

4. Prepping the Paint

To help the paint adhere to the hard leather and plastic surfaces, you'll need to mix equal parts of Angelus 2-Hard and paint (for this project, Suheel used a 6:1 mixture of Fired Red and Tahitian Pink).

Mixing 2-thin and paint

Since we're airbrushing these customs, you also need to prep the paint to make sure it flows through the airbrush without clumping and causing the airbrush to clog. Generally, we suggest using a 1 part 2-thin to 4 parts paint ratio (1:4).

Straining the paint

Before adding the paint to the airbrush, it's important to strain the paint to get rid of any dust, paint pigments, and other imperfections. Without straining the paint, this debris will be sprayed onto the shoe, creating a rough surface,

5. Painting Patent Leather

After prepping the paint, it's time to start painting the shoe. Use your airbrush to apply several light coats of paint to the shoe, and make sure to let each coat dry completely before moving on to the next.

Airbrushing the shoe

To achieve a completely solid, even paint job, you'll likely need to apply four to five coats.

After painting, if you notice any imperfections that need to be smoothed out, you can use wet sandpaper to get rid of these rough spots. Make sure to let the paint completely dry for 24 hours before doing this, and hold the shoes upside down while sanding to avoid runoff onto the midsoles.

Painting the Jumpman logo

You can also use a detail brush to fill in the small details, like the Jumpman logos, with Flat White paint.

6. Applying Finisher

To seal in the paint job and restore the glossy finish of the original shoe, you can use an airbrush to apply several light layers of High Gloss Acrylic Finisher.

Applygin finisher

Not only will this add a glossy finish to the shoe, but it will also help protect your custom paint job from minor scratches and scrapes.

7. Dying the Soles

To finish the shoe, Suheel dyed the soles to match the new red colorway.

As you can see, the Jordan 11 has a patch on the sole that matches the shoe's colorway. The shoe on the right still has the original blue sole, while the one on the left showcases what it looks like after the dye job.

To dye the sole, use a paintbrush to carefully apply the dye to this area. Dye stains very easily, so take your time and be cautious not to get any dye on the upper or the icy midsole as you will not be able to reverse this.

Applying the dye

After letting the dye dry for about 10 minutes, apply the Acrylic Finisher to the sole to seal in the dye.

Then, to finish the shoe, Suheel swapped the stock laces for a matching pair of red rope laces.

Finished Red Jordan 11s

Check Out More Tutorials

If you want to check out more helpful tutorials like this one, make sure to subscribe to the Angelus YouTube channel to learn tips and tricks from experienced custom sneaker artists.

Don't forget to follow Angelus on Instagram and check out our online store to grab the materials you need to recreate these custom Jordan 11s!

Custom Sneaker Spotlight: December 2020

In an otherwise bad year, 2020 has been a good year for customs as artists around the country have shared some amazing creations with us over the last 12 months.

With the year coming to an end, we thought we'd close the year strong by sharing some of our favorite customs from this past month. Check out the customs below and stop by our online store to grab the tools you need to make your own.

Custom Jordan 1s

Custom Jordan 1s

(source: @astrotorfcustoms)

Sponsored artist @astrotorfcustoms created these custom Jordan 1s, dressed up in a clean black, white, grey, and red colorway, as a gift for fellow artist @dnicecustoms.

The shoe features Union-style color blocking, custom dyed laces, personalized Jordan wings logos, and several other custom details.

Rugrats x Kaws Yeezy 350s

Rugrats x Kaws Yeezys

(source: @skinzcustoms)

One of the most unique pairs of customs we've seen this year, these custom Yeezy 350s by @skinzcustoms combine a childhood classic with art inspired by the popular artist Kaws.

Each shoe features portraits of iconic characters from Rugrats, including Tommy, Chuckie, Reptar, and others -- each with X's over their eyes as seen in much of Kaws' artwork.

Kyrie 5 "Sunday Service"

Kyrie 5 Customs

(source: @yauyau_jy)

These custom Kyrie "Sunday Service" 5s showcase some of the most insane detail work you'll ever see on a pair of customs.

Artist @yauyau_jy hand-painted these customs, featuring an all-over intricate stained glass design with neon green laces and soles to complete the concept.

Pokémon Vans

Pokémon Vans

(source: @lucha_loafers)

Slip-On Vans are some of the best shoes for customizing due to the large blank toe boxes, and sponsored artist @lucha_loafers takes full advantage of this blank canvas with these custom Pokémon Vans.

The customs feature a purple base, lightning effects, and detailed portraits of some of the most recognizable Pokémon, including Pikachu, Seviper, and others.

Lakers Air Force 1s

LeBron James AF1

(source: @camcreatez)

Custom artist @camcreatez designed these custom Air Force 1s, dedicated to the reigning NBA champs -- the Los Angeles Lakers.

These customs feature some incredible details, including portraits of LeBron and Anthony Davis on the sides and heels, a Black Mamba-inspired black and gold colorway, and snakeskin pattern detailing on the upper.

To see more customs like these, make sure to follow Angelus on Instagram and tag us in your own custom creations.