Close this search box.

Log in

Top Stories

Vinny Lamanna is an artist. His canvas is sneakers.

His hand-painted shoes feature vivid color and intricate design. You could put them on display, similar to the Las Vegas club owner who liked his custom shoes so much he put them in a viewing case in his lobby. But, hey—it’s cool if you wear them, too.

“It’s wearable art,” Lamanna says. “They really do hold up.”

Vinnys Customs is a business born when Lamanna was a marketing student at Florida Gulf Coast University. His business grew almost exclusively through word of mouth and social media; Instagram in particular has been a hub for most of his business.

He had no formal art training, just an attention to detail and a drive to get better after each pair.

“I’ll tell my ma, ‘These are the best ones.’ Then I’ll make another and say, ‘No, these are the best ones.’ I’m always trying to outdo myself,” he says.

The process is pretty simple: Clients order shoes and send them to him, he paints them, then ships them back. The cost can be upward of $600 depending on the design and time involved. His client list started with friends but has grown to include professional athletes, such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Deven Thompkins, who even wore his anime-inspired cleats in games.

Lamanna always tells clients to FaceTime him when they get the package with their new shoes. Sometimes his customers are low-key. Other times they’ll get emotional. “One girl started to cry; this other girl, she got up and did this happy dance,” he recalls.

His clients have different reactions, but his goal is to get them to say the same thing: “It exceeded my expectations.”

Copyright 2024 Gulfshore Life Media, LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent.

Don't Miss

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Please note that article corrections should be submitted for grammar or syntax issues.

If you have other concerns about the content of this article, please submit a news tip.