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Constructing the Classics with London Sneaker School

The end of June marked the very first Bespoke Air Max 1 Course offered by the guys at London Sneaker School (LSS). The five-day intensive course began on Monday the 22nd of June and wrapped up on Friday when the three shoemaking students unveiled their final products to a crowd of onlookers. I was lucky enough to be invited down to the workshop over the course of the week to meet the guys, snap some photographs and get a feel for how LSS conduct their sneaker construction lessons. The experience as a whole was so much fun and I learnt a lot just from watching and listening, despite not participating myself.

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Prior to the start of the course, London Sneaker School provides you with a template of an Air Max 1, as well as a list of materials which are on offer to use. This gives you an opportunity to become familiar with some of the leathers and other materials which you will use during your time at LSS. It also means you can come up with some design ideas before stepping into the workshop.

Upon arrival, I was shown through the schedule for the week to follow as well as the impressive underground workshop located in Hackney, London. The three students; Morgan, Danny and Damon each had their own ideas about the direction they were heading in with their own AM1 designs. While for some it was solely an idea in their head, others had exact mockups of what they wanted their shoes to look like.

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Every component of the Air Max 1’s you create during your course at LSS is fully customisable meaning you have complete creative control over your finished sneaker. Even the colour of the outsole, midsole and air bubble can be selected to fit your preferences, achieved by using Nike ID (or By You) soles as donors for your handmade pair.

Some materials available, for example, more stretchy leathers, can be harder to work with, which can prove problematic if it’s your first time using them. However, as part of the course, you first assemble a practice upper of an Air Max 1. You do this in the same fashion as you would if you were making your final piece, serving as a tester to experiment with materials and processes which you will rely on further in the week.

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‘Piet Mondrain’ Nike Air Max 1’s by Damon (@Damonma1)

During the five day course, students are taught everything there is to know about how a sneaker is assembled by hand. This is perhaps the feature of the course which piqued my initial interest, as not only do you end up with your own bespoke’s, but you learn about the fundamentals of shoemaking. The guys were directed through everything from material selection, cutting and sewing, stitching and clicking panels, lasting and sole bonding by Thomas and Jase.

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‘Horween Beast’ Nike Air Max 1’s by Morgan (@Morprime)

While previous experience may play a factor in the outcome of your shoe, it is not necessarily important. The three shoemaking students each had a varying experience when it came to shoemaking, yet each of them left the course with a sublime pair of Air Max 1’s assembled from scratch. While there may be some glue marks or imperfections, this is to be expected. Any handmade product is more than likely to have a few flaws here and there, especially if you haven’t done anything like it before. But these ‘imperfections’ only add to the character of one’s shoe and, in my opinion, serve as a reminder of the experience as a whole.

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‘Kickin’ Off’ Nike Air Max 1’s by Danny (@Dannychillman)

Both Thomas and Jase are excellent teachers and their knowledge of shoemaking is clear from the moment you meet them. After witnessing the course first hand and seeing the final products come off the last I am even more keen to jump onto the course myself. If you share the same excitement as I do and would like to learn how to construct classic sneakers yourself, head over to the London Sneaker School website. At the time of writing this there are three upcoming sessions in the near future which are as follows:

5-Day Shoemaking Course Upcoming Dates:

  • Monday 10th August 2020
  • Monday 14th September 2020
  • Monday 19th October 2020

London Sneaker School Course Dates

Furthermore, the guys at LSS are currently running a giveaway in collaboration with @Morprime giving you the chance to win a spot on their Air Max 1 course for free! Follow the link below to London Sneaker School’s Instagram to enter:

London Sneaker School on Instagram

London Sneaker School Online

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Thanks again to Thomas and Jase for having me down to check out their very first Air Max 1 course! It was great meeting you all and I’m excited to see what the future has in store for LSS.

By Toby Eldredge @CrepCultureBlog 

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