Photo: courtesy of  JGoods

by Kelly Wetherille

Puma made headlines about five years ago when it launched the Mongolian Shoe BBQ concept, through which customers were able to design and order a custom pair of sneakers by mixing and matching a variety of styles, fabrics and colors. Reebok had also offered custom versions of its Classic sneakers to customers in the US. Over the past couple of years both brands have put their custom shoe projects on hold indefinitely in order to focus on other initiatives, leaving a gap in the marketplace for funky sneakers that can be tailored to customers’ individual tastes and styles. Some big players, such as Nike and Adidas, have stepped up to fill this gap by offering customization services of their own at shops in Tokyo.


Nike opened a new flagship store in Harajuku last month, complete with Japan’s largest NikeiD design studio. Here customers can see and feel color and material swatches before placing an order via an in-store computer terminal. The service is also available online at, and customizable products are not limited to just shoes. Men’s, women’s and children’s footwear, clothing and sports bags are available.

Mi-AdidasPhoto: courtesy of Adidas

Adidas has an extensively customizable line, called miAdidas. At the brand’s ‘sports performance centers’ in Roppongi and Shibuya, customers can design not only a pair of street sneakers, but also a pair of specialized Adidas athletic shoes for sports such as running, tennis or soccer (dubbed mi Performance). Staff at the shops take specific measurements of both feet to ensure a perfect fit before customers choose their preferred outsole, design, colors and inscription to make a pair of shoes that is truly one-of-a-kind. The option has already become popular with sports stars around the world, including former sumo champ Konishiki and the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team, who visited the store when they were in Japan for the Bledisloe Cup in October. Through the mi Performance concept, Adidas combines high-performance athletic shoes with personal style, blurring the lines between sports and fashion.


Photo: courtesy of  JGoods

What if your sneaker brand of choice doesn’t have a customize option, or what if you just want to add a bit of spice to an old pair of shoes? JGoods has just the thing for you: The JGoods Sneaker Customization Kit. Complete with a comprehensive guide to customizing your shoes, five colors of paint, a high quality paint brush, an empty container for mixing colors, a bottle of finish remover, cotton swabs, and scour sponges, the kit makes it easy for anyone to create a unique pair of sneakers. Priced at $45, the kit is available online at and can be shipped to Japan or virtually any other country in the world.

Win this!

Win-ThisPhoto: courtesy of Adidas

Weekender is giving away a pair of customizable miAdidas shoes to one lucky reader! To enter to win, email us at [email protected] and let us know what you think of Weekender and what you’d like to see us do differently. Write by December 21 for your chance to win, and don’t forget to include ‘miAdidas’ in the subject line. Good luck!