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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Heart and Sole

Blake Jeffress builds wearable, custom works of art.

New sneaker releases don’t excite Blake Jeffress quite like they used to. The Castle Highschool graduate says it was increasingly difficult to find the right pair to add to his own collection of more than 100 sneakers. So, he decided to make his own.

“Going through high school, it was a good way to express myself through shoes,” he says. “I ended up collecting so many different pairs of sneakers that new releases all just either looked like something I had or I just wasn’t interested in.”

Jeffress journeyed out to Los Angeles, California, to take a professional course in cobblery. With this new knowledge of pattern making and lasting (the process of stretching the upper shoe over the outsole and permanently attaching), he began making shoes for himself. Eventually, he started crafting and selling custom designs through his shop, TrueSole Customs.

Photo by Zach Staw.

Focusing mostly on athletic shoes, Jeffress will source shoes upon customers’ request, detach the soles, and build a custom-designed shoe using everything from imported Japanese fabrics to Italian leathers. The result is a one-of-a-kind Nike or Jordan, but still a complete recreation of the original shoe.

 

“Everything that I’m doing is going to be essentially a one-to-one recreation of the original,” he says. “That’s how I’m able to do this legally. I’m not creating something new; I’m just customizing their already-made product.”

He has sold products, which range in price from $300 to $750 or more, plus the price of the sole, to buyers across the country and Europe. Jeffress, who works full-time as a property manager in Evansville, says the turnaround time for a typical job is about 4-6 weeks.

“It’s kind of just a mixed bag of whatever someone’s wanting. I’m willing to take it on and kind of make it a reality,” he says. “I like to make things that inspire me or take things I see in my everyday life and translate them into a shoe, which is kind of a fun challenge for myself.”

FOLLOW TRUESOLE CUSTOMS ON INSTAGRAM @TRUE.SOLE

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