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Step-By-Step Guide To Customizing Your Nike Air Force 1s

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Why break an arm and a leg on a pair of custom Nike Air Force 1 sneakers when you personalize the original ones at home yourself at just half the cost? The low-cut version of the classic Nike Air Force 1 can be worn all day in comfort. The kicks are durable, stylish, multipurpose and they bridge the gap, fashion-wise, between the '80s and the current craze. Sneakerheads, however, often argue over the cost of Nike Air Force 1. While some believe them to be overpriced, others feel that the cost is just as reasonable as you’d expect for the model of such flair. The bottom line, however, is that Nike Air Force 1s are in no way cheap, and if you are looking for some more illustrative versions of the shoe, you can expect the price to be several times of the classic’s.

But instead of spending those big bucks on custom Nike Air Force 1s, you can also opt for a DIY project, and get your own personalized, aesthetic sneakers. Just follow these steps to make your own unique sneakers!

1. Conceptualize: You can get started right away once you have your own fresh pair of Nike Air Force 1s. But, before you start with your artwork, you need to envision how exactly you want your sneakers to look. The colors, the styles, the patterns, the characters, the emblems - you need to have a design figured out before you begin customizing your Air Force 1s. If you start impromptu, you can end up with a bad design that will make your sneaker permanently unpresentable.

2. Cleaning & Acetone: Once you have an idea about your design and you’ve got all the products you need, you can get started with customizing your sneakers. But before you get to the painting stage, it is essential that you clean your shoes first.

The key is to remove the laces and strip off the factory coating on the shoe so the paint will bond with the leather properly. First thing, put on your gloves. Take acetone (it’s cheap and you can buy it any hardware store) and soak cotton balls with it. With those cotton balls rub the coating off the leather.

Alternatively, you may also use an acetone leather preparer and deglazer like the one from Angelus to clean your shoe. Just rub the aforementioned substance with a microfiber cloth over your shoe, and it will be ready for painting. It’s important to take your time cleaning and preparing the sneakers, it will improve the end result and make sure the paint will stick. But don’t use too much force. Just gently rub your Air Force 1s in circular motions.

3. Masking & Cutting: To achieve a degree of perfection in your design, it is essential that you mask the areas off that you do not want to paint. This will give you clearly defined boundaries and your design won’t be messy. Scotch masking tape is best-suited for masking and an X-Acto knife can be used to cut along the edges.

4. Get The Right Material: Now once the preparation is complete, it is essential that you gather the right resources to paint your shoe. Angelus acrylic leather paint &the Angelus paintbrush set is most commonly used for customizing Nikes. If you ever come across a DIY sneaker customization video, we can safely bet that it will feature Angelus products during the painting process. The paints have been touted for their reliable quality and lack of abrasiveness. And the Angelus paintbrush set, which includes 5 brushes of varying sizes and strokes, is made using synthetic fibers that help make the painting process less labor-intensive.

5. Paint: Once you have the right material in place, you can begin painting your shoe. Angelus offers a wide variety of colors to choose from, but if you want your Air Force 1 to be more unique, you can always mix different shades in a color palette. When applying paint, always paint in light, thin layers to avoid streaks and looking like it's painted. Some colors aren't as opaque as others. You may need more coats to achieve an even finish like red or yellow. Just make sure the layer dries before applying the next coat. You can use the hair dryer to speed up the process.

6. Design: Once you are done with the painting, it’s then time to add a design. But be careful as it is the most sensitive step. You need to have a steady hand to incorporate a design into your shoe. Use a small liner brush to clean up any edges, and add small, intriguing details along the shoe.  

7. Drying: After you are done with the paint and design process, its time to give your Nike (and yourself) a little break. Leave the sneaker to dry out. Or just use a hair dryer to fasten up the process. This way, the colors will better fixate on the skin of your Air Force.

8. Finishing: Now, you finish the customization off by adding a glossy touch to your shoe. You can simply use the Angelus Acrylic finisher to give your shoe a protective coat, but any Matte finishing liquid will work just as good. Use a light, even coat to ensure your shoes look colorful and crisp for a longer period of time.

9. Present: Finally, it’s time to showcase those bad boys on Instagram. But before that, remember to lace up your shoe with some dazzling, colorful strings that make your design pop out.