Is The Custom Sneaker Market Oversaturated?

Everyone loves a dope pair of custom kicks. From the crazy “Iron Man” customs that Mache did for LeBron James to the “Lebronold Palmer” Nike SB Dunks designed by the up-and-coming CWhitt Customs there’s something fresh and different about a pair of custom kicks.

However, like most good things, the more popular customs got, the more people started trying to weave their way into the sneaker customizing business. From people with artistic talent who want to try something different, to bums who are looking to make a quick buck by sloppily painting shoes, everyone seemed to be trying to get their own piece of the action. This leads to a pretty interesting question: is the custom sneaker market oversaturated?

Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? There are good parts to custom kicks being very popular: they’re much more widely available than they were a few years back, the prices seem to be holding steady, and you have more businesses to shop around with (although honestly if you’re here in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area, Salvatore Marcum is head and shoulders above the others. Check out his work and you’ll see. Guy has got some serious talent).

There are bad parts to this too, namely that anyone who’s ever picked up a paintbrush in elementary school art class seems to think they can paint a pair of shoes. There’s struggle customs all over Instagram and sneaker groups on Facebook, and it can grow very tiring.

Where will the custom sneaker game go from here? Only time will tell. My personal hope is that the art is left to the artists, and the folks who are trying to make a quick buck by slapping shitty paintjobs on shoes head for the hills and find something else to ruin. You gotta let the real creatives flourish and not oversaturate the market.

On that note, I’m in the market for some customized kicks for this winter. Anybody got me?


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