A new Montreal startup—The Flyest Shoe—is here to personally customize your sneakers
We all use fashion to express who we really are—whether it signifies class, personality, emotion or interests. It’s a way to speak to the world through fabric and montage, an explanation of oneself without words. A new Montreal startup called The Flyest Shoe—formed in January 2015—allows this process to go one step further (pun intended).
The startup was co-founded by Nicolas Gaume, a UQÀM student, and Mathieu Naillon, an HEC student. It is run by five official members accompanied by two main artists—OneTulip and Quentin. The concept behind the company is the personal customization of sneakers—they upgrade your shoes from feet protection to works of art. Freelance or contracted artists are brought in by the crew to hand-paint your kicks, mostly with an acrylic leather paint called Angelus.
You can either bring in your own sneakers or the group commonly orders sneakers such as Nike Air Force One, Nike Air Max, Adidas Superstar and Adidas Stan Smith for their customers. These shoes are primarily ordered in black and white so that they can act as a canvas for the artists to work off of. But rather than just customizing footwear in a generic way, the company offers the benefit of a conversation and an inclusion into the creative process. You can come in with a vague or a specific idea and brainstorm with the team and the artist that will be making your sneakers their canvas, their temporary sketchbook.
“You can [already] customize your sneakers but it’s not personal, so everybody can do the same as you. [Here] we are really trying to make something different for each customer,” said Gaume. “It’s a new relationship between the artist, the customers [and] the team. We try to do something more personal,” said Anastasia Domerego, the art director of the startup. Domerego pointed out that big brands aren’t asking you “What would you like? What is your inspiration?” while this is exactly what The Flyest Shoe wants to know.
Your sneaker customization happens in five easy steps: pick a pair, choose a design, review various previews, choose your favourite preview and give your approval on the final product. Your pair of sneakers can be finished in two to four weeks and pricing starts at $200 and may vary depending on the vastness and complexity of design. “If you want to have the pair of your dreams, but not to look like everybody else, go customize your pair. Come to our shop and we will make it different, better and yours … People want to be different and they want to be creators now,” said Gaume.
Gaume hopes that the future of the company will include 10 Montreal-based artists, international orders and two artists on the team who specialize in tailoring. Furthermore, rather than only personalizing a larger brand’s product, they hope to one day produce a brand of shoes of their own.
Whether you’re an artist interested in applying to make someone’s fantasy sneakers a reality, a customer who wants a pair of kicks that will set you apart or someone who wishes to walk the streets wearing artwork, The Flyest Shoe is a startup to keep your eye on.
For more information visit The Flyest Shoe’s website at theflyestshoe.com.