As far as fashion is concerned, I would hardly consider myself cutting edge and I tend to be a minimalist: I refuse to carry a bag unless I have to. The staples of my wardrobe are t-shirts and sneakers, which at one time were very boring items to collect. But recently it’s become easy to find t-shirts with original artwork on them and it seems like sneakers are heading in the same direction.

Customized or original looking sneakers have been a big hit for a while. You can go online and pick the color and pattern of the canvas on your Vans or mix and match Adidas shoe styles. Which is all fun and great, but Portland-based RYZ takes original sneaker artwork a little further with their Threadless-esque model. Artists submit designs on the website, users vote on the designs they like best and then RYZ produces a limited number of shoes for you to buy. There are high-tops and low-tops, plus you can design the sole, which gives the sneaker a little extra soul (come on, that pun was just asking for it!).

I am very won over by many of the designs and this may bring a whole new level of snazz into my sneaker collection, which is looking a little mud-spattered and rain-sodden these days. The one problem is that the site doesn’t show the shoes on any real feet, so I’m not quite sure what they actually look like, but it’s worth checking out. And if you like something you can vote for it.

These are some designs currently available for purchase:



Country Club Nouveau