About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the heating and manufacturing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, denim, and working on his
dad bod father figure.
I recently rediscovered Nike’s sneaker personalization program Nike By You, previously called Nike iD, while surfing around for Christmas gift ideas for my wife. This co-creation service allows customers the opportunity to personalize certain models of clothing and footwear with a handful of unique options not found in stock models that are commonly carried by retailers
As one of the resident sneaker nerds of Dappered, my interest was certainly piqued. I’m a massive fan of clothing personalization programs as they provide that opportunity to create something that’s wholly unique to me; that avenue for a little bit of personal artistic expression doesn’t happen often enough. I love being able to put my unique spin on something I can wear.
So, with that in mind, I jumped at the chance and ordered TWO pairs of sneakers to test the service. How does the system work? Did I get what I asked for? Was it worth it? Read on!
So what IS “Nike By You” ?
Most of us have goofed around “designing” a car online by picking different paint jobs, wheels, and other details. And while the vast majority of us never bought said car, the Nike By You platform is kind of like that… only for sneakers. Most models have a series of design options that you can scroll through and adjust to your preference. For the Blazer Mid ‘77s, we have ten layers in which we can influence the design. Let’s quickly walk through each design layer:
- Upper – You can choose between leather and suede. Both options have various colors to choose from, ranging from basics like black and white to a more vivid Varsity Red. The number of colors you can choose from depends on the model of sneaker, and some models have many more color options than others.
- Tongue – You can also choose the color of the tongue. Should it be tonal to the upper’s color, or should you opt for something that contrasts and stands out a bit more?
- Lateral Swoosh – The outside facing Nike Swoosh can be leather or suede, but this material choice will also dictate the material of the inner medial Swoosh. IE: you can’t get one in leather and one in suede, but you can mix and match colors.
- Medial Swoosh – The inner Nike Swoosh. Note that it connects to the lateral/outwards facing Swoosh at the back tab, so a contrasting option will be visible from the back.
- Backtab – The back tab material at the heel can also be leather or suede. There are more color options here than the upper has, so you could experiment with some wild colors.
- Laces – There are over 15 colors of laces to choose from, so feel free to be a dandy!
- Backtab Logo – This pair defaults to a Nike logo on the backtab, but you can change up the color of the stitching if you’d prefer the text to blend in or stand out more.
- Midsole/Forefoot Tape – The midsole and “foxing” forefoot tape is the typically white sidewall of the shoe. Here you can go with the traditional white or switch it up a bit.
- Outsole – You can alter the color of the outsole, but you cannot change the outsole design or material. Personally, I like a pop of color here. Red bottoms, anyone?
- Heel text – If you’d like to truly make your pair a one of one, you can have a bit of text embroidered in color down the heel strip. Yes, they have a content filter so some words and most punctuation will not be allowed, but most names and numbers will work.
Got all that? It’s a lot. So much so that Nike even has made multiple “how to” videos, and even one on how to avoid choice fatigue.
Once you’ve made all your choices on their “By You” platform, they’ll give you an estimated delivery date. At post time, Nike was estimating about six weeks from when you click “purchase,” to your very specific shoes ending up at your door.
Speaking of those specific shoes. Let’s see how the two pairs I had made turned out…
Our resident sneakerhead couldn’t resist creating more than one custom pair of Blazers.
The Adam Review Scale of Excellence (A.R.S.E.)
- 5 – Excellent! No issues and highly recommended.
- 4 – Good. Above average, but not perfect.
- 3 – Average. Minor issues, might be good at the right price.
- 2 – Fair. Below average due to defects, flaws, or imperfections.
- 1 – Poor. Significant issues, not worth purchasing at any price.
- Brand: Nike
- Style: Blazer Mid ‘77
- Size: 11 US
- Last: N/A
- Construction: Glued and Vulcanized
- Upper: Leather and suede
- Sole: Rubber
- Details: Customized colors and unique embroidered text
- Extras: N/A
- Country of Origin: China
- Price: $125 per pair
My pairs were ordered online via Nike.com in early December. At the time, Nike quoted a 4-6+ week turnaround for custom orders and would not guarantee that they would arrive before Christmas. However, as luck would have it, both of my pairs were made, shipped, and delivered within two weeks. Both pairs were shipped via UPS Worldwide Express Saver, direct from Nike’s factory in China. I’m very impressed with the service and fast shipping, especially during a hectic holiday season in a year where global logistics are still troublesome. Editor’s Note: I bought a pair of custom AF1s and they shipped from Vietnam. YMMV, especially when it comes to shipping times.
FYI: All Nike purchases, including custom Nike By You sneakers, have a 60-day return period. You can return them for any reason, too, even if they’re worn and you find out that they’re uncomfortable. That’s a surprisingly generous return policy! Returns can be made in store for free or Nike Members can get free return labels emailed to them directly.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Easy ordering, quick shipping, and generous returns! A+
Nike By You sneakers arrive in a bespoke (to the program) white box with some simple branding and minimal details on the exterior. The label on the “front” of the box displays your first name, shoe size, and a color image of the shoe design you made. Inside, the shoes are wrapped in a unique layer of Nike By You paper with dozens of fun little brand graphics – I especially like the “one of one” and the “running bunny” logos that I’ve never seen before. If it wasn’t torn and crinkled from my unbridled excitement during the unboxing experience, one could actually frame this paper for some cheap and fun sneaker pop art.
If you’ve been reading Dappered for any length of time, you’ve probably read at least one of my reviews and you know that I have come to expect some level of swag when purchasing shoes, especially when it comes to investment-worthy dress shoes and boots. Typically I like to see a spare set of laces, shoe bags, polishing cloths, etc. as those are what I consider essential care. However, when we’re talking about sneakers that cost just north of a hundred bucks, you must lower your expectations a bit. Sadly, no extras were included here and maybe that’s alright.
Score: 4/5 Stars – The unboxing experience is ok, but commensurate with sneaker cost.
Fresh out of their boxes, I’m really loving the Blazer Mid ‘77 Vintage sneakers that I’ve designed. While they’re certainly not my first pair of Blazers, I’m reminded how much I enjoy the overall style and sport-adjacent aesthetic of this silhouette. Nike says the Blazer model is a vintage style. While I can’t speak to what was actually fashionable in the late 1970s, I can definitely envision jumping into a time machine, of the automotive or hot tub variety, and going back in time to find sneakers like these (or something similar from Converse) being popular with young adults everywhere. If we have any Dappered readers of that vintage, let us know!
As with most clothing items, shoes with the right color and material makeup can help make or break the right outfit. Sometimes you want them to incorporate into an already well curated and tailored outfit. Sometimes you’d prefer that they stand out as a louder, bolder statement piece that can elevate an otherwise basic outfit to something a bit more unabashed. To each their own. Personally, I prefer sneakers that fall somewhere in the middle. I want them to be interesting, but not so loud or obnoxious that they become the focal point of what I’m wearing that day. I prefer not to be the “loud socks” guy at the office, and thus, I also prefer not to be the “weird sneakers” guy in my small circle of friends. So, let’s talk about my custom sneakers!
The White Leather Pair
I wanted something that was super versatile and evergreen, literally. I’ve been wearing a lot of Earth tones lately, so this pair features forest green suede Swooshes and back tabs. Those should pair well with the textured knit Rhone polos and khaki chinos or faded indigo denim that I often wear to the office.
I asked for the Nike logo on the backtab to be stitched in a lime green thread for a little extra pop of color that most people won’t be able to see; it’s the little hidden details like this that I enjoy the most. Flipping them over reveals a gum rubber sole, which again helps tie them back into my closet full of greens, blues, khaki tans, and muted yellows. Finally, some bespoke heel text ensures that these won’t be mistaken for someone else’s.
The Grey Suede Pair
I picked up a pair of black jeans on sale last year in an effort to expand my denim palate, but quickly realized that I lacked the proper footwear to wear with them. Thus, I began the quest to find an interesting pair of sneakers that could be worn with my black Japanese raw denim. Enter these grey, black, and white Blazers; they’re the perfect companion as they incorporate all of the monochromatic tones into one silhouette and will look great paired with those jeans and a slub cotton pocket t-shirt.
I opted for the buttery smooth grey suede uppers, mismatched black and white pebbled leather Swooshes, and a black leather back tab with tonal Nike stitching and bespoke heel text. The real surprise is the crimson red rubber outsole that stealthily hides underneath, waiting to peek out with each step you take. Red bottoms!
Peering inside, you can see that each pair has a breathable knit lining around the ankle. The lining color is dictated by the color of the upper; you cannot choose a contrasting color here. The lining is soft, comfortable, and seems to be durable enough for average sneakers. The non-removable insole is glued down well, but with enough patience and perseverance, could be removed if you absolutely need slip-in insoles for more comfort or arch support. The exposed foam tongue seems like an afterthought, a bad design or an error from manufacturing, but it’s a period-correct nod to the 1970s roots of these sneakers. It feels soft, and as a bonus, it quickly conforms to your foot as you lace up.
The stock Nike Blazer models typically feature a white, solid rubber outsole with a fairly typical herringbone pattern that’s vulcanized to the midsole/upper assembly. Naturally, the Nike By You program allows you to vary the color of the outsoles a bit, which I took full advantage of. I find these soles to be comfortable and offer enough traction for most average days. My older pairs are wearing well and seem to be durable enough to last at least a year or two without fail.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Exactly as designed, these Blazers are great! Love all of the little details.
In terms of fit and sizing, I recommend trying a half-size larger than your true-to-size Brannock measurement. I find that athletic sneakers like Nike tend to fit a little small, so I size up a half-size for comfort. My usual Nike size is 11 US and I bought these in 11 US as well. The Nike By You custom Blazers fit just like every other “stock” pair of Blazers I’ve ever owned. If you know your Nike size, trust your gut and go with that size as these won’t fit differently.
For size reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in most roomy dress shoes, including Alden’s Barrie last and Grant Stone’s Leo last. I take a 10.5 E in Allen Edmonds 65 last, as that last runs too narrow for me. I also take a 10.5 in Converse/Vans and an 11 in most athletic sneakers from Adidas or Nike. Have a size question? Email us!
Comfort is always subjective, but I find Nike Blazers to be pretty comfortable for a fashion-focused athletic sneaker. The leather/suede uppers, cushioned insoles, and rubber outsoles all provide a distinct layer of comfort for casual, everyday wear. Would I wear these to the mall, to the movies, or to dinner with my wife? Absolutely. Would I wear them to a theme park where I’ll be on my feet all day? Probably not; I’d opt for something with a thicker outsole.
Score: 5/5 Stars – These fit and feel great like most other pairs from Nike.
All in all, I’m really impressed with the Nike By You customized sneaker program. It’s easy to navigate and lots of fun to design different configurations. The price is on par with what one expects to spend on a regular pair of Nikes; for an extra $20 above the cost of the regular Blazer Mid ‘77s, you get the opportunity to customize a pair with unique options and have them embroidered with your name (or your favorite menswear website). The hardest part of this process is just choosing a final design! If you’re a fan of fun and unique sneakers, or have a “sneaker nerd” in your family, I highly recommend trying out this service or getting that special someone a gift card to try it out.
Avg. Score: 4.75/5 – YES! Affordable; designs are easy and fun, and they arrive quickly.
We’re happy to report that Teddy also approves of his human’s new Nike Blazers.