Look back far enough and you realize a lot of  new ideas aren’t all that new. For over a decade just about all the major sneaker companies have offered some sort of ID or sneaker customization.  In 2006 Adidas took the ID  concept and went a little further giving customers the chance to physically paint their own sneakers when they  re-released the Adicolor Lo in a Delux Box Set with paints, brushes and a wooden palette.  Still, non of these companies can claim first dibs on pioneer of the idea from a corporate standpoint.  No that claim (at least for now) goes to a  “little” company named Riddell. Founded in 1927, Riddell is mainly known for their Football (American) equipment. However, during the 70’s the company was pumping out quality cleats and more specifically in 1973, they released a cleat called ColorEm. ColorEm’s could be dyed your teams colors and further customized with different colored laces.  Whether this ability to dye your own sneakers, seal them from the weather and customize them further with colorful laces pre-dates Riddell isn’t known at this time but for now Riddell is the official pioneer of  sneaker customization (from a corporate standpoint).

riddell 1973