As one of the most coveted of all design jobs, sneaker designers often have it made. From hanging out with pro athletes to working with the most innovative color trends, materials, and finishes day in and day out, it’s no wonder why colleges and trade schools are beginning to offer sneaker design courses to keep up with demand.

But with the latest sneaker release from Nike, you don’t have to do all that just to make your mark.

Instead of deciding where the Swoosh would be on the new Nike Gakou Flyknit shoe, the designers decided to sell the shoes with included rubber stencils, allowing consumers to personalize the shoe on their own. This is the first time Nike has provided stencils for at-home footwear customization.

The lightweight shoe features a Flyknit upper, an injected foam midsole, and a suede heel as a starting canvas.

“As Nike designers have worked on applying Flyknit to the uppers of Nike footwear icons, including the Air Force 1, Air Max 1, Presto and others, they’ve learned the ins and outs of Flyknit programming to maintain shape, paneling and the overall identities of these recognizable, beloved silhouettes,” explains the brand. “One prototype emerged and stuck with the Special Projects design team — a sock-like shoe with suede on the heel and a Nike Free-inspired, flexible sole. It had the DNA of the Nike Aqua Sock and Sock Racer but stood on its own — so much so that the shoe was given an official release and named the Nike Gakou Flyknit.”

If you’ve ever wanted to customize your sneakers, this is definitely a great place to start. The Nike Gakou Flyknit is available for $120 over at Nike.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.