How to Design Your Own Nike High Tops

Written by mercedes valladares
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How to Design Your Own Nike High Tops
Customise your high-tops with NikeID or create sketches with your designs. (Sneakers image by irum from

Creative athletic footwear designers generally develop their own signature styles. Manufacturers like Nike offer customers the opportunity to create customised versions online from existing high-top designs, referred to as their personal NikeID. Fabric textures as well as colour details are selected and inserted in a high-top icon during the customisation process.

Another option for designers is to sketch their own Nike version as a creative road map. Sketching different high-top versions enables the designer to view his or her original concepts even though the ideas cannot be manufactured without a Nike licensee agreement.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Internet access
  • Printer
  • Sketch outline
  • High-top sneaker blank
  • Graph paper
  • Non-bleed paper
  • Felt-tip or coloured markers
  • Outline copies
  • H pencil
  • B pencil
  • Watercolour pens (optional)
  • Thin-tipped colour markers (optional)
  • Spray fixative

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Go to and click on one of the selection tabs across the top, referred to as the ribbon bar. A drop-down menu appears by selecting a men's or women's tab. Kids high-tops are available by scrolling to the last selection tab on the women's drop-down menu.

  2. 2

    Click on one of the drop-down menu tabs to open your selected high-tops. You must click on the high-top icon to be redirected to the customisation page. Another alternative is to open the "view all" tab and choose from a wider selection.

  3. 3

    Activate the customisation process by clicking on the enlarged high-top icon or click on the "start blank" tab. When the customisation process is activated, a description window appears showing the name of the selected NikeID high-top, the price, size chart selection as well as a customisation design process bar, which alerts you of any missing steps along the way.

  4. 4

    Drag the cursor over the high-top icon. Design component description windows open over each section of the high-top, such as the body, toe and tongue, quarter, outsole, as well as Swoosh and back tab detail. Select and click on an area to activate the material texture or colour customisation design element window.

  5. 5

    Choose a texture or colour from the customisation design element from step 4. Certain styles offer texture as well as colour. For instance, the men's Zoom Mogan Mid 2 id allows you to choose from suede, full grain leather, mesh or a leather with graphics. Keep in mind graphics are existing Nike patterns referred to as grid, honeycomb and sticks. Other styles like the women's Sweet Classic High Canvas offers colour selections and the Dunk High Skinny Supreme allows you to add patterns such as madras.

  6. 6

    Continue to open the high-top components and select your design elements until you have reached the end of your design progress bar. Click on the bar's drop-down menu to view your steps including any missed steps.

  7. 7

    Tag your high-tops by typing in your name or your own personalised message in the designated NikeID area. To review your tags as well as your overall high-top design from different angles, click on the rotate, zoom or pan commands by using the control tools at the bottom of your icon screen. If you are not ready to order your customised high-tops, share your design with other NikeID users by clicking on the share tab. Another alternative is to print out your design or save it for future adjustments.

  1. 1

    Draw the side-view outline of the high-top sneaker blank on graph paper. If you are working on non-bleed paper, use felt-tip or coloured markers for the outline. Your sketch must include details such as existing eyelet position for lacing as well as any pre-stitching details like reinforced toes, which generally have a curved patch at the front of the high-top sneaker.

  2. 2

    Draw a front view of the high-top sneaker. Include sections for the sneaker's inner "tongue," which is the piece of fabric in between eyelets for lacing closure. Draw the sole height, as well.

  3. 3

    Sketch all of the blank sneaker details, such as stitching as well as insert panels and seams with the felt-tip marker. The existing inserts cannot be altered.

  4. 4

    Make copies of the outline side- and front-view sketches. This will enable you to create several design versions without having to redraw existing details and sneaker proportions.

  5. 5

    Draw in the Nike "Swoosh" logo in a prominent area on the high-top sketch. The balance of the design will revolve around the Nike logo placement.

  6. 6

    Draw patterns, stripes, trims or seam inserts into the outline sketch with drafting pencils. For instance, if you have added a zigzag or tripunto stitch, which is a triple needle top stitch into the design, use an H pencil to define the stitches. If you are airbrushing or painting a soft floral pattern onto the sneaker, use a B pencil for shading and contouring the petals as well as leaves. Draw several design versions to select from.

    If you are adding specific trims, such as embroidered patches or rhinestone heat-seals, make sure you draw this into the sketch view and that the Nike logo is not hidden or obstructed with the added trim.

  7. 7

    Add definition to the design sketch version by going over the pencil lines with felt-tip or coloured markers. Keep in mind that the medium you will be using to colour in your sketch. For instance, if you are using watercolour pens to create an airbrush feeling, use thin-tipped colour markers to define the lines in the same hues from the watercolour palette.

  8. 8

    Apply a light coating of spray fixative to prevent the mediums used within the sketch from smudging or smearing. Let dry your brand's recommended time. Save the sketches as a design guide to embellish your high-top sneakers as a future project.

Tips and warnings

  • Click the size chart button to scroll the drop-down menu to select your size prior to adding your customised high-tops to your cart. NikeID also offers customised fit for wide or narrow feet as well as for large or small sizes.
  • Designers as well as manufacturers without a Nike license agreement are not allowed to reproduce or resell any designs with the Nike logo.

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