My Personal Trainer: Turning Sports Shoes into Customised Works of Art

I am so excited to have officially launched our new website during Fashion Revolution Week, which happens to also be the week we are celebrating the 50thanniversary of Earth Day. It’s heartening that slow fashion is now much more the norm, and likely to become even more so in the post Covid-19 world.  

We are also proud to be presenting our first collaborative collection, with shoe customisation expert, My Personal Trainer, set up by multi-talented creative, John Hall, whose design inspiration comes from Albert Einstein’s quote that, “creativity is intelligence having fun.” Those who recall ShopCurious’s first incarnation in 2008, will remember the strapline of our original blog was ‘Style with Brains’, so this is a curiously appropriate match!

Trainers are typically made of plastic and the average pair of running shoes generates around 13.6 kg of carbon dioxide emissions according to an MIT study.  Of course, there are new versions, made from recycled ocean waste, PET from plastic bottles, or plant based fabrics such as Pinatex. However, most people have at least one, probably more, pairs of old-style leather trainers that are superfluous to their requirement for a useful jogging shoe. 

My Personal Trainer will customise or upcycle your old (or new) trainers into a unique work of art. Hall, who trained as a theatre and costume designer at both London’s Central St Martins and RADA, offers to bring “colour, vibrancy, magic and the art of theatre” to your sports shoes, turning them into the ultimate slow fashion statement. 

He started out creating bespoke items for sports players and performers who wanted a particular style of shoe, but found no existing colour options matched their need. A huge range of colours and effects is available, and the designs can be applied not just to running shoes, but also to casual shoes, cross-trainers, tennis shoes, and even football boots. So long as the fabric of your shoe is largely leather, and the colour is predominately white, My Personal Trainer can upcycle your old trainers (or transform your new trainers) into personalized street style icons of the future.  

The first stage is to agree upon one of a number of designs available, or you can invent your own bespoke trainer, in which case the artist will work with you to create a moodboard and a mock-up, or prototype shoe design (see images below). The full customisation process involves an initial consultation with the client and ‘visualisations’ to ensure that every aspect of the design is considered.

Old school painting techniques are used alongside more contemporary techniques to create shadow, texture and highlights, using airbrushes and different gloss strengths to give the desired finish and shine. New life is breathed into the shoe to totally transform what is initially a basic factory trainer into a collectable piece of personalised art. 

We asked My Personal Trainer to design a shoe for ShopCurious and here are the results:

Additionally, for those seeking the ultimate in shoe storage or a standout personalised gift, there is the option to house your upcycled trainers in a matching, handcrafted box, which can also be decorated with your name or initials, as a bespoke finishing touch.

An exclusive capsule collection of customised designs by My Personal Trainer is now available at ShopCurious.