Making custom sneakers is quite easy these days– most of the major brands have the function available on their web sites. It's fun and easy and provides the instant gratification of seeing exactly what it will look like before you buy.
Puma's latest project, the Mongolian Shoe BBQ, is a natural evolution of the customization trend. It works rather simply, you walk in to the store and select the different parts that get assembled to make a shoe. You have a wide variety of color and material choices and there are no rules for matching, symmetry or pattern compatibility. Envisioned by Antonio Bertone (Global Director of Brand Management for Puma), "[the] Mongolian Shoe BBQ gives people the opportunity to touch and play with the fabrics and have more control over the finished product by being truly involved in the creative process."
What I love about the idea is that there's an element of surprise because you don't know exactly what it will look like until 3 weeks later when the assembled shoe arrives at your doorstep. I had lots of fun making my pair (pieces are pictured above). It's a lime green and camo combination just in time for Spring. When the finished shoes arrive I'll be sure to post some photos.
How can you get your hands in the BBQ? It scheduled to rotate throughout Puma stores in the US and Europe starting June 2005. Each location may have new materials to work with, so if your fortunate enough to catch this twice, it's worth a second round. Cost? $130 per pair.
Here's a before and after shot of one of their samples.