Taking apart sneakers....

Jan 12, 2007
OK.....here's the deal, i am trying to do my first complete custom from the ground up and in a very clean way. i don't just want to paint the shoes but rather change materials and/or add to the design in some way, either way i need to take apart the shoe. i know there's a way(or process) to take apart sneakers, primarily the dunk highs or lows is what i am looking for. is there any step by step guide out there that i can follow? any help is greatly appreciated because i just don't want to start ripping away at the seams of my shoes without knowing what will happen or how i will get them back together.
"The Retro Died in 2001..."
well.........everyone else that did that pretty much started ripping away without knowing what to do........so your pretty much gonna have to as well.

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Fabric/Denim/Material Attachment Guide

This is my in-depth guide on adding fabric or denim. It is seperated by two methods, glue-on and stitch-on.

-Masking Tape
-Exacto Knife (artistic blade)
-Fabric Glue/ShoeGoo
-Large Fabric Scissors
-Sewing Machine that can withstand bulk of shoe leather(stitch-on guide only)

Glue-On Guide
#1. Decide which panels of the shoe you wish to apply your fabric. When you have decided, it's time to make templates. Take your masking tape and put 2-3 layers of tape over the section. Don't worry if it's messy, you're gonna clean it up later. It's important to do 2 or 3 layers bc that will eliminate the possibility of having the template from falling apart. Once you have the area applied with masking tape, take your exacto knife and cut around the edges to get the shape of the area.

#2. At this point you should have a replica of the panel of the shoe in exact size and shape. Carefully take it off the shoe and put it on the fabric. Make sure you carefully place it so a quality image will be cut out (not someone missing a head of half of a word) and so that the fabric isnt wrinkled or folded under the tape which would cause it to be disfigured.

#3. Cut the fabric with the fabric scissors around the template. If you have the correct, large scissors, you will notice how easily and cleanly the cutting will be. If you don't, you're just going to have to suffer. It's important here to get it as close as the actual size and shape of the template.

#4. This part is recommended but not necessary. If you have all your pieces of fabric cut out into the shapes of the shoe, you should stitch a border around the cut fabric. This will eliminate frays and loose threads. Once it is stitched, use those handydandy fabric scissors n trim off whatever loose threads there are. They shouldn't be coming back.

#5. Time to put the fabric on the shoe. Take whatever adhesive you have and apply a thin layer to both the shoe and fabric. Before combining the toe, spread the glue around evenly so there are no bumps or lumps in concentrated areas. Carefully apply the fabric onto the shoe and even it out, again smoothing out wrinkles, lumps or bumps.

#6. Let em' dry and they're done.

Stitch-On Guide

This is where it gets tricky. Unless you know what you are doing, I highly suggest you take them to a specialized tailor or to a shoe repairman instead. This method requires dismantling of the shoe. I will not be held responsible for whatever damage that may occur during this process.

Follow Step #1 and #2 from above

#3. Basically the same above with one variation. When you cut your fabric, cut apprx. 1inch around the template.

#4. Now comes the messy part. Take your exacto knife or blade and you have to seperate the panel of the shoe you wish to apply fabric to. Just slip the blade under the top panel where the stitching is located and slowly slice the threads.

#5. You should now have a seperated shoe panel and an overlarge fabric template. Glue the fabric to the seperated panel like above. Since it was cut larger, you should have "flaps" hanging over. Simply fold those over and glue them to the other side of the panel.

#6. Stitch panels back to shoe with heavy duty sewing machine.

hope that helps ........
Thanks Joe..
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