Pimp my sneakers - DIY trainer design

Pimp my sneakers

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Diana Kiernander gets her creative juices flowing with Puma’s new Do-It-Yourself shoe design facility, the Mongolian BBQ.

You don’t know me, but in the interest of authenticity, I should tell you that I really like sparkly shoes and I last owned a pair of trainers when I was about 14. So, faced with the challenge of customising a Puma shoe in the sportswear brands’ Glasgow store, I dreamt of giving the original a high performance kick, a true silver and sequins makeover. I hoped help would be on hand.

Puma’s idea, in theory, is a simple one. Customers are invited to transform the cult RS100 shoe, using their imaginations, computer technology and a pick’n’mix style selection process. Based on the layout of a Mongolian barbecue, with choices to suit every taste, Puma promise you can cultivate your design cuisine with ease and serve up a unique slice of customised clobber. Laces, heal caps, linings and trims are to be colour coded by you, and there’s a mecca of material to choose from as well.

Trainer aficionados, I think, would love the rush, but making a sneaker shine is a tricky process. I’m faced with finding colour and material matches for a shoe broken down into no less than ten parts. I want heels and bling in thirty seconds. The store supervisor tells me there are over a million possible design combinations, which is exciting, but terrifying, given they are £100 a pop. An expensive mistake, should reality yield that a yellow toe cap fiercely clashes with a pink backstay. Plus, you wait five weeks to see your design classic, and that’s a long time for a lady lusting over some fantasy footwear.

In truth, this idea is straight from planet fashion. But reality dictates we choose clothing and footwear we can actually wear more than once. The Puma custom crown has real potential though. Stick with a straightforward colour palette and add flashes of zing and you’re on course to create a look that is uniquely yours.

While staff can’t actually craft the shoe with you, there is a well-stocked refrigerator of ready-made styles to help you with colour combinations and sizing. There’s also online instructions in case you messed up engineering and art when you were in school.

Eventually I emerge with a red and gold sportswear great, and, while it’s not my usual style, I do feel a strange sense of pride at having actually worked through the design process.

Puma have a long history of creating one offs, as their collaborations with Philippe Starck and Alexander McQueen show. And now they’ve gone for customisation. Something tells me that, once again, Puma’s shiny sneakers will run and run.

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