Custom cycling shoes that will make you swoon

by Abby Mickey


If you’ve ever scrolled through the Instagram ‘Discover’ page and you follow a lot of cycling accounts, you’ve probably come across custom-painted cycling shoes at some point. And if you have, you’ve almost certainly see the fine work of Caitlin Fielder.

It all started as a birthday present for Caitlin’s boyfriend, Jumbo-Visma rider George Bennett. Caitlin had a background in art and had started a business painting dog portraits. That first pair of shoes for George took over 30 hours to paint with paint pens. George took them to the Tour de France where they caught a lot of attention but Caitlin hadn’t figured out the technique yet and the design came off before the first rest day. When she went to visit George at the Tour she spent the day re-painting his shoes.

After the attention at the Tour, Caitlin started to get Instagram messages from people who wanted their own custom shoes. She figured out a technique that lasted and has been painting shoes ever since. (And yes, she will still do dog portraits if that’s what you’re after.)

 

So how does she paint the shoes? It all starts with the preparation. Creating a proper canvas is key for the paint to stick. She starts by cleaning the shoes thoroughly and removing any of the shiny surfaces included by the shoe manufacturer. Before the painting process can begin Caitlin mocks up the general idea on her computer and overlays it on the shoe, so she knows how to bend and morph the design to fit the shoe. Paint is applied in thin layers so the shoe will still be able to flex under watts and so the paint won’t chip.

One pair of shoes takes 7-30 hours to paint, depending on the design requested.

Now, if you haven’t already gone to Instagram to check out Caitlin’s work (which you should absolutely do), here are a few of the shoes she’s painted. They range from shoes for clients, to shoes for the pros, to shoes commissioned by races like the Giro d’Italia. As you can see, her attention to detail is incredible. You can find more information at Caitlin’s website.

Part of a 5 Monument series for the company Magasins Culture Velo.

“I painted these ones with Shimano as a surprise for Mathieu van der Poel. I did two pairs and these were one of them. Both were Fortnite Battle Royale themed!”

“These were painted for Esteban Chaves. I have done a few pairs for him over the years! He loves the bright designs to match with his foundation colours and has the name of his physio on the designs as well”.

Painted for Jumbo-Visma’s Antwan Tolhoek for the Tour Down Under this year.

Paua shell design for George Bennett to wear at the World Championships.

Another pair for Magasins Culture Velo and their 5 Monuments collection. These are the Milan-San Remo pair.

These were created for Primoz Roglic for the Tour de France this year. The symbol is his logo and the pattern is the same as he uses on a lot of his stuff.

“These are an inverted version of the first black pair I ever painted for George”.

Created for a competition with Shimano Benelux Bike. The winner got to design the shoes; each aspect of the design illustrates something important to her.

Commissioned by a guy for his girlfriend who is Italian and Israeli and who loves yoga.

Handpainted for Shimano for the 2019 Giro d’Italia.

Another pair of the 5 Monuments for Magasins Culture Velo. These ones are all about Il Lombardia.