What can I do to make my walking shoes look less lame?
July 11, 2013 2:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm doing tons of walking lately, so I needed proper walking shoes. I've now got New Balance 928s, which fit the bill nicely; except, of course, they look awful (bulky, blocky, blinding white). Is there anything I can do to them to make them look awesome, or at least less like bland prescription shoes?
posted by ocherdraco to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Incredibly bright colorful laces. Swap out regularly if you like.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:45 PM on July 11, 2013

Perhaps a little juvenile, but I color my shoes with permanent markers sometimes.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 2:47 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you considered something comfy that is much less structured, thereby working your whole foot? If so, I recommend Skora very highly. I wear these two pairs all the time, for running, working out, and walking. The new black model is pretty sharp as well.
posted by bearwife at 2:48 PM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

You can get shoe paint if you want to go colorful.

It's also possible to rock the intentional "ugly" shoes look. It's not for everyone but it can work. I've done it by wearing low socks (the more invisible the better) and tightish jeans cuffed a number of inches above the shoe. Shorts can work, too, or overalls if you want to go full 90's :)
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:48 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wear them, in 2 months you'll be wondering how your white shoes got so dirty.
posted by Max Power at 2:49 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: A couple things:

1. These are the shoes I have. I want to make these shoes look better/more interesting. (More colorful and less dull, not just dirty.) I am not going to buy other shoes.

2. I wear these shoes with athletic clothing when I am exercising, not with everyday clothes like jeans, so I'm looking for things I can do/add to the shoes themselves, not to the clothes I am wearing with the shoes.

Shoe paint, colorful laces, markers, etc. are all things that sound like they might work. More suggestions please!
posted by ocherdraco at 2:54 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I would recommend watching the first Highlander movie and embracing your inner Immortal.

Or, alternatively, try some decorative lacing styles. I'm not sure these shoes would work with spats but you could probably make some colorful ones. Or get some really neat-looking socks that will distract from the whiteness.
posted by asperity at 3:08 PM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Buy a really big pair of those silly plush slippers (like dinosaur claws) and just put 'em on over the shoes!
posted by carsonb at 3:11 PM on July 11, 2013

Best answer: For the future I recommend not buying ugly shoes, even if they are one-purpose (working out) only. Not worth it.

For now, as you are working out, you want to feel like a super hero pushing through those work outs. You need wings to fly, dude.

posted by travelwithcats at 3:20 PM on July 11, 2013 [8 favorites]

Curly shoe laces (find them new on eBay) in any color you want. Not only will they cheer up your shoes' look, they're great for walking because they never get untied.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 3:20 PM on July 11, 2013

I have seen "plain brown wrapper" Nikes. They were black shoes with the swoosh Sharpied out.
posted by Cranberry at 3:23 PM on July 11, 2013

Response by poster: travelwithcats: "For the future I recommend not buying ugly shoes, even if they are one-purpose (working out) only. Not worth it."

You try finding not awful looking, supportive, walking shoes in a women's size 6.5EEE! :)

But the wings are perfect! Just the kind of thing I was looking for. I think I'll do a combination of wings, colorful laces, and an interesting lace pattern. Thanks all!
posted by ocherdraco at 3:25 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Glue on jewels! Bedazzle thy shoes. I feel like a princess loon in my jeweled Crocs!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 4:09 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I once spray painted white leather sneakers with auto paint, which you can find at, oddly enough, auto supply stores. I chose a gold metallic finish. It chipped a bit and cracked at the bendy spots as the shoes wore in, but it lasted a long time and got a groovy distressed look after a while.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:44 PM on July 11, 2013

I had a pair of boots with white leather panels that I coloured turquoise with a letraset permanent marker from an art supply store. The colour lasted really well, even through the boots getting soaked when my boyfriend's apartment flooded. The range of shades you can get is great - I'd get a few different colours that match, and go to town on the suckers. The marker probably won't stay on any rubber parts, but works great on leather.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:01 PM on July 11, 2013

An artistic friend and some sharipes can fix that right up for you.

Also shoelace clips. (I've never used that site but that should give you some idea what I mean).

Take it to a shoe shop, they can dye all sorts of shoes there leather and fabric they might be able to change the colour.

Kids shoe shops have all sorts of fun things you can put on shoes depending on how fun/silly compared to sensible you want to go.
posted by wwax at 6:37 PM on July 11, 2013

I'd paint those things hot pink so fast and wear with electric blue laces, and prance around to Katy Perry. Actually, I might buy a pair and do just that.
posted by Unangenehm at 7:08 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

A source for the wings, and they also have mustaches, flames, etc. They market these to roller derby skaters for skates, and if they hold up during derby, they must be quality: http://www.shwingsonline.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=65
posted by pixiecrinkle at 7:41 PM on July 11, 2013

I found "Custom Kicks" by Maki at the used book store but it doesn't have much in the way of how-to.

A temporary option is http://www.funkkit.com/

Ultimately I ordered a kit including the book "Sassy Feet" by Margot Forrest and Destiny Carter from their website: http://www.sassyfeet.com

Other options:

Sole Junkie: He also has his own book and sells sneaker paints http://solejunkie.com/

More books:
"Decorate Your Shoes" by Annemart Berendse

"Art & Sole: Contemporary Sneaker Art and Design" by Intercity.

"Kicks Japan: Japanese Sneaker Culture" by Manami Okazaki.
posted by MichelleinMD at 11:07 AM on July 12, 2013

Response by poster: I've replaced the laces in my shoes with the purple laces from my old shoes, and it made a big difference. They're still giant clunky walking shoes, but they're less monolithic. If this fails to sate my desire to change them, I will get shwings.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:00 PM on July 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

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