Decon/Recon Sneakers

Thinking about deconstructing your own sneakers to create your own pair of bespokes? Then I am happy to help you by giving you a quick step-by-step guide on how to deconstruct and reconstruct your own sneakers. Read on for a full description in our Decon/Recon Sneaker guide.

Decon/Recon sneakers: what you need

To deconstruct sneakers like the Nike Air Max or Air Jordan sneakers, you need to have:

  • Boonfolder

  • Sole remover/glue activator

  • Skiving knife

  • Cutting board

  • Dremel with sanding disc

  • Sewing machine

Deconstruct your sneakers in 4 steps

Step 1.

Remove the laces and the insoles from your sneakers. You will need these later.

Step 2.

Add the sole remover in the inside of the shoe and leave it for 5-10 minutes to let the sole remover do it’s work.

applying sole remover

Step 3.

Now that the sole remover has been activated, you can press on the mudguard (on the side of the shoe) and the midsole. When you put the boonfolder in between the mudguard and the midsole, the upper wil detach. You need to remove the entire upper from the midsole.

Using a boon folder

Step 4.

With a Dremel sanding disc you can remove the remaining glue from the midsole. As soon as the midsole is entirely clean, you can use this for creating your own custom sneaker.

Cleaning the midsole with a dremel

Creating your own bespoke sneakers

So now it’s time to reconstruct your sneakers. Easier said than done, off course. But not impossible. Follow these steps to recreate your own sneakers.

1. Patterning

For every part of your bespoke sneakers, whether you’re working with a pair of Air Jordan 1’s or Air Max sneakers, you need to have a pattern so you can cut your leather accordingly. You can buy the necessary shoe patterns at Sneakersschool.

As you can see in the image, you can use any kind of material to cut out these patterns. At the Sneakersschool you can find numerous types of leather and all sorts of fabrics to create your own pair of bespoke sneakers.

Sneaker patterning

2. Leather processing

The leather you are using needs to be skived, once you have cut out the patterns. When you will be stitching your sneakers, some parts of the patterns will be overlapping other patterns. The underlying pattern needs to be skived, or made thinner. The underlying pattern needs to be around 1 centimeter for sturdiness. Besides that, you need some room for stitching the patterns together. Thanks to the skiving, your sneakers will have a better fit and provide you with more comfort. You need to skive the leather with a sharp knife on a plate or a piece of glass, to prevent the knife from becoming blunt. You need to create and skive all these components of your new pair of shoes. 

  1. Tongue
  2. Toe Box (vamp)
  3. Toe Cap (mudguard)
  4. Lateral Quarter – outside of foot
  5. Medial Quarter – inside of foot
  6. Outer Heel Counters (x 2) 
  7. Collar – usually padded with foam or soft material for added comfort around the ankle
  8. Eyelet row
  9. Heel tab
  10. Swoosh (x2)
  11. Heel Collar (mustache)
parts of a deconstructed sneaker

3. Stitching

Once you have gone through all these steps, it’s time to put the pieces together. Start by stitching the different patterns together till you have recreated the sneakers. After that, you can stitch your donor soles to your newly created bespoke sneakers. You have now reconstructed your own pair of sneakers. Take away some imperfections by cutting away the excess of stitching and refining rough edges on your sneakers.

Put your insoles back into the shoes and add your laces. Now you’re ready to shine in your own custom sneakers.

Stitching sneakers

Learn to make your own sneakers at the Sneakersschool

Do you want to learn from the best? Then follow one of our courses at the Sneakersschool. Within a week you’ll learn everything you need to know to create your own sneakers. In this course you will be working on your own project. We will provide you with the donor shoes and all the materials you need to make your first pair of bespoke sneakers.

At the end of the course you will be going home with your new and unique sneakers, that’s a guarantee. Do you want to know more about our courses? Feel free to contact us!