Sneaker customizer Sole Swap has been one of the most sought companies when it comes to recreating sneakers. Their shoes have been featured on several of the biggest sneaker websites, and their work with celebrities such as Joe Budden, Fabolous and Victor Cruz have gained the company a huge following.
Negron, owner and founder of Sole Swap, started customizing sneakers at the age of 17. Now 30, Negron continues to impress sneakerheads with his one-of-a-kind customizations on Nike Foamposites. He’s considered the first to include LED lights on sneakers and is known for changing the soles of any sneaker to match the color of the upper.
We sat down with Jason to speak with him about the breakthrough in the business, his clientele, and to find out what’s next for him the world of custom sneakers.
What made you want to start customizing sneakers?
I wanted to be different than everyone else. Everybody had the same Jordan 9, the same Foamposite, the same Nike brand, Nike shoe, Reebok and stuff like that, and I just wanted to be different.
What was the first sneaker you customized?
The ‘Space Jam’ Jordan 11. What I tried to do was paint the sole with regular paint, and at the time there wasn’t anything for soles, or anything special for sneakers, so it was just regular stuff that you would get at the shoe store; leather paint, leather polish, so I did it with a spray can and it didn’t stick, but just to be different than everyone else I just tried it.
How long does it usually take you to make a sneaker?
Well it all depends, we do everything. From repairs, to restorations, to doing custom sneakers of any brand: Jordan, Nike, Reebok, Puma,,Asics, adidas – pretty much whatever the customer ask we try to help them get the product they want, so it call depends. Restoration and cleaning of a sneaker could take 2 -3 days, but if it’s an extreme job in which I have to do a paint job to the sole and install lights then it could be 2-3 weeks , so it all depends.
What pair of sneakers has taken you the longest to customize?
It was the Galaxy Foamposites when they first came out. This guy had me put lights on the soles. He also wanted me to paint glow in dark stars on the shoe. So since I did not want to mess up the shoe because it was limited and valuable, I took my time with it. I would say the process took about 3 weeks. I had to put the lights inside the shoe and make sure they were nice and bright, and then I had to paint all the stars glow in the dark, so it was definitely a lot of work.
What’s your favorite sneaker to customize?
Well we started with Foams, so we stick to them, but honestly I like working on Jordans as well.
Tell some celebrities that you have customized sneakers for?
I’ve done a bunch of shoes for Joe Budden, we did shoes for Busta Rhymes, Fabolous, 50 Cent. I’ve done shoes for Victor Cruz of the New York Giants. I got a couple of shoes coming up for a few players of the New York Jets. I did shoes for Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks, Shane Victorino from the Boston Red Soxs, and a few of the Baltimore Raven players.
Who’s somebody you would like to design a shoe for?
Well since I’m working with a few players of the Jets and I would like to do a shoe for Michael Vick. LL Cool J would be dope and Eminem.
A lot of customizers are known for a signature style or material they use. What do you think your mostly known for in the world of sneaker customizers?
We’re mostly known for installing LED lights and changing the soles of sneakers.
What’s your favorite shoe of all time?
It would have to be the royal blue 1997 Nike Foamposite Penny.
What’s the price range for your work?
It all depends on what your getting. Restoration and cleaning could start off at $60. If we have to paint the whole shoe it would cost up to $150. Repairing soles or replacing them goes up to $100- $200. When it comes to artwork it’s different. The LED lights on the Foamposites that goes all around the sole cost about $250, now if you want the lights on the sole and change the color of your sole it would cost you $350. If you want everything done on the sneaker it would cost $650. We feel like if we charge affordable prices then we can get more work in.
Out of all the sneakers you have customized which one has been your favorite?
We did a Nike Foamposite Oregon Duck colorway. That was my favorite because it was for Joe Budden who wanted something different. He wanted the Foamposites in Oregon colors because the Jordan brand only sponsors Oregon teams, so it would definitely stand out. He wore the shoes at a concert and just to see him wear it, and the reaction of the people when they saw shoe was great.
What shoe was the first to get you recognized in the sneaker community?
The shoe that put us out there was a couple of years ago, when we put the LED lights on the Foamposites. We got a lot of recognition for that.
Three albums you always keep on rotation?
I would have to go with Illmatic by Nas , Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt and Big Pun’s Capital Punishment.
What’s your Twitter and Instagram account where people can check your work out?
They can follow @soleswap in all media platforms.