Brands such as Nike and Adidas have long offered a range of customization options for their sneakers. Adidas even lets you 3D print a midsole to guarantee your sneakers fit right. But luxury sneakers, which use high-end materials and are designed to match your pricey jeans rather than improve your workout, haven’t kept pace, even as the market for them has boomed.
A new partnership between Farfetch, a billion-dollar fashion e-commerce company, and Swear, the London-based footwear label, is changing that. Launched on Farfetch’s site on Oct. 14, a new customization platform, Myswear, lets customers build their own sneaker from a choice of 16 different silhouettes and more than 80 combinations of luxe materials and colors.
The process is similar to customizing a sneaker with NikeiD, meaning you work on a 3D model of the sneaker and pick the colors—and in this case the materials—for each part.
Those fancy materials include Nappa leather, suede, metallics, and hair-on calf, as well as exotic skins, including python, crocodile, and ostrich that the company says are all ethically sourced. You can mix and match them, too, so if you’ve been longing for a pair of plimsolls in a mix of silver python and neon-yellow ostrich, now is your chance to make them.
Prices start high and run even higher—from $385 on the low end up to $10,000. Ethically sourced crocodile is not cheap, after all, and the sneakers are all handmade in Portugal, which has lately become a hotspot for luxury manufacturing. The company says it takes about four to six weeks to complete the order, from the time it’s submitted.
What you get in terms of the shapes on offer are mostly subtle variations on oft-copied classics, such as Vans slip-ons or Adidas Stan Smiths, as well as riffs on some luxury sneakers available right now. One pair resembles the popular, velcro-strapped hi-tops from the luxury sneaker brand Buscemi.
While Farfetch and Swear are two separate companies, both actually have the same creator: José Neves, a Portuguese entrepreneur. He has a history of building successful brands, and this new collaboration shows promise: As companies from Adidas to Converse have shown, sneaker shoppers want the ability to customize.