10 Must Have Tools for Sneaker Artists

10 Must Have Tools for Sneaker Artists

Be Yourself from the Bottom, Up:

10 Must Have Tools for Sneaker Artists

top tools for shoe artists

Customizing your sneakers shows your individual flair, makes great first impressions, and displays artistic skills in an easy, affordable way. Whether you are just learning how to customize sneakers or are a pro at shoe art, having quality equipment is essential! These ten tools will help you step up your game.

1. Masking Tape

One of the most important sneaker artist tools (and the first you should buy) is a good roll of masking tape to cover every edge, contour, and nook of your sneakers. It is the literal base of your artwork.
  • Apply to the lines so the finished product can have clean lines. 
  • Paint or airbrush over. 
  • Peel to reveal.  
masking tape pic

2.  Art (X-Acto) Knife

A sharp knife is essential for precision work. Whether you are cutting through tape or shaping fabric to be applied later, you can't afford the mistake of a dull blade.
Shop: Fiskars
Olfa cutting knifes
Shop: Olfa
X Acto knives
Shop: X-Acto

3. Stencils

Stencils, whether they are store-bought or of your own design, ensure your painting and fabric application looks like a pro job. You don't need to be good at drawing; you can simply order a stencil design made by cutout machine. Experts recommend the Silhouette Cameo 
How to Properly Stencil a Shoe

4. Shoe Decreaser

These trusty inserts go in the toe box of each sneaker, keeping the toes stiff and crease-free. They go comfortably under the insoles, giving the toes a raised toebox. Impress new clients with a sharp look and a shoe guaranteed not to "cave in" after delivery.
Forcefield Shoe Inserts

5. Concrete Glue (Rubber Cement)

Contact cement is a rubber adhesive that creates a fast, flexible, and permanent bond. This product is the best way to keep your fabric designs on the shoe, not the floor behind you. It can also be helpful to create a seal between the shoe sole and the main shoe. 

6. Heat Gun

One of the most valuable sneaker customization tools, it prevents running and sets and dries your paint quickly. Get one with different attachments and several heat levels.
Taklife heat gun

7. Paint Brushes

An artist needs brushes, even when the canvas hits the pavement. Brushes come in all different sizes. Use them for even coats of paint and detail work. 
different types of brush types

8. Spouncer Brushes

These tools, featuring round, foam heads are for blending, texturing, and touch-ups.
Spouncer Brushes
Spouncer brushes: "A dab will do ya."

9. Acrylic Applicator

These are also for finishing. Their material prevents smudging and fabric residue.

acrylic applicators
10. Shoe Spray

To keep your art looking like new, seal in your colors and fabric attachments with a quality shoe spray. Shoe sprays should be gentle yet effective on canvas and fabric finishes. 

LCS Sneaker Cleaner Spray

Did we miss anything?

Having the best sneaker custom tools is a matter of counting to ten. These items will help everyone, from beginners to pros, create beautiful, lasting designs.

An empowering message to artists: "We all have the same tools. It's just what you can creatively think to do with them. There are no limits to creation."

Related: Worst Parts of Being a Shoe Artist

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  • Alex Pop
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