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How to design and create your own custom bridal sneakers


Customized bridal sneakers (@yvonneliaonyc)

The bride wearing my customized sneakers at her wedding in 2022 (@yvonneliaonyc)


The idea to customize wedding shoes came about last year when one of my friends, Marjoan, was preparing for her wedding nuptials. Being an unconventional bride that she was, her wedding theme focused on medieval fantasy (think Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter all rolled into one) and every guest was encouraged to dress up in black medieval fantasy inspired costume for her wedding.


Everything that Marjoan wore on her wedding day was one-of-a-kind - her wedding dress was designed and custom-made by her uncle in the Philippines, and instead of the usual bridal head piece adorned with crystals or flowers, she wore an exquisite bronze queen tiara emitting like sun’s rays on her crown, and a filigree armor that adorn her chest like a medieval goddess.


The problem was, she could not find a pair of comfortable bridal shoes that match her elaborate headpiece and dress to dance comfortably at the wedding, so I decided that I would gift her with a pair of custom bridal shoes to complete her elaborately beautiful wedding outfit.


The entire customization process took many hours, but the outcome was totally worth it because I was very happy to customize the sneakers as wedding gift for the bride-to-be. The wedding was so beautiful and full of love, and I cried because it reminded me of my own wedding several years back.


And the best part of the wedding was that Marjoan was able to enjoy and dance to her heart’s content during the wedding reception because she was in a very comfortable pair of customized one-of-a-kind wedding sneakers on her wedding day. Nothing makes my heart content and full of joy than seeing the happiness and love that radiated from my friend’s face on her special day.


Custom designed wedding shoes are the best because:

1) These are one-of-a-kind pair of shoes that only you have in the world to remember this special day;


2) You can decorate it with any materials that are meaningful to you on this special day of your life, such as wedding dates, names of your spouses or even colors or trinkets of memories of beloved family or friends who passed as symbolic of them being with you at the wedding;


3) Depending on the shoes you choose, they can be very comfortable for you to walk the whole day without the troublesome hassle of having your bridesmaids carry additional pairs of flip flops or go bare footed and get their feet dirty on the dance floor (because of the uncomfortable heels they are wearing);


4) They make great gifts for your maid-of-honor and bridesmaids;


5) You can wear them again after your wedding for other occasions.


If you are interested in designing your own bridal shoes, read on to see the materials and the steps in customizing a pair of wedding sneakers, or send me an email (yvonne@yvonneliaonyc.com) and let me do the work to customize your own pair now!


Steps in making a pair of custom bridal shoes:

Before I start customizing the wedding shoes, I discussed with the bride-to-be, Marjoan my design ideas based on her wedding theme and colors.


Materials needed:

1) A pair of plain white shoes (about $60) It can be any type of shoes in any color (because it is your wedding) that you like and feel comfortable on your wedding day, such as ballet flats, heels, sandals or sneakers. In this case, I asked the bride-to-be what type of shoes she wanted and she chose a pair of Fila white high top sneakers from DSW.

Sneakers wiped clean before customization


2) Several multi-purpose gem rhinestone ($6.99) and pearl kits ($7.99) from Amazon.com. These boxes contain crystals and pearls with 6-8 different sizes and also comes with tweezer and pickup pencil that allows you to pick up the individual pieces easily and glue them to the shoes.


3) 1 1.9 fl oz E6000 plus multipurpose adhesive ($11.85) from Amazon.com


4) A box of syringes with blunt tip needles ($7.89) for hobby crafts from Amazon.com. I fill the glue into the syringes and the needle tip provides precision on how much glue I want to put on the surface of the sneakers.


5) A packet of glitter heart-shaped patches in silver and gold ($7.99) from Amazon.com. You can omit this material if you want and just use rhinestones and pearls, or you can add other decorative elements such as embroidery patches or even paint your shoes. This is what I love about customization. You can do whatever you want with it!


6) Gold chiffon/satin shoelaces ($6.99) – I chose gold because of the wedding’s color theme, but you can always choose whatever colors you want based on your wedding colors and themes.


7) Gold metallic paint ($10.99) from Michaels.com. This is optional and you can choose to not paint your shoes.


Total estimated costs to customize your bridal sneakers: $130 (does not include shipping and time spent for customization)


Steps in customizing my bridal sneakers:


1) I clean the sneakers with wet wipes to remove any dirt or stain on the sneakers so I get to work on a pair of clean, pristine sneakers.


2) I add the E6000 glue into the syringes. I use bigger syringes with bigger blunt tips for the bigger pearls and smaller syringes with smaller blunt tips for the smaller pearls.



3) Once steps 1 and 2 are completed I will start to use the white pencil to pick up individual pearls and add a strip of glue on the area I want to stick the pearls on and start adding one pearl at a time in a straight line. It just makes the design look neater and allows me to anticipate the number of pearls that I need. I usually start customizing the front part of the shoes first, but you can start anywhere you want.


4) I then repeat the same steps and cover the areas I want with different sized pearls. This is the most tedious part of the process because it can be difficult to pick up the individual pearls/rhinestones and your eyes get crisscrossed after a while!


5) To make the sneakers even more special, I created the letter M (the bride's initial) with rhinestones on the sides of the sneakers and painted it with gold paint.


6) After I glue all the pearls, I then proceed to glue the glitter heart patches.

How the sneakers look like before gold shoelaces are added


6) The last step in replace the original laces with the gold chiffon laces I bought.




The bride wearing my customized sneakers at her wedding in 2022 (@yvonneliaonyc)


Tips in customizing your wedding shoes:


1) Let the glue on the shoes have ample time to dry and cure for at least 24 hours before you wear them. Otherwise, the pearls and rhinestones will drop off easily. However, there is always a likelihood that a few pearls will drop off from the shoes, and the good thing is you can always replace the missing pearls/rhinestones with the extra ones in the pearl/rhinestone kits.


2) Start your project early because it takes time to customize the shoes. Because of the large areas I wanted to cover with I pearls, I could not finish the project in one sitting and had to break it down over a few weekends.


3) Prepare extra materials that you need to customize your shoes just in case you need more materials. I ended up needing more large pearls and was frustrated that I ran out of large pearls because I had to order and wait for the next batch of materials to arrive in my mailbox.


I hope that you are inspired to start customizing your own wedding shoes. If you want a special pair of shoes but do not have the time, fret not! I am more than happy to design your custom wedding shoes for you! Drop me an email at yvonne@yvonneliaonyc.com and I look forward to hearing from you!


Alternatively, check out my glitter sneakers that are also a great option for your wedding and other blogs on how I design and make my own shoes, and sign up to receive special early bird promotions on the launch date of my capsule collection in 2024.


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