Meet​ ​Sal​ ​Amezcua,​ ​Karl-Anthony​ ​Towns’​ ​Custom​ ​Sneaker​ ​Plug

Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Meet​ ​Sal​ ​Amezcua,​ ​Karl-Anthony​ ​Towns’​ ​Custom​ ​Sneaker​ ​Plug 


Did​ ​you​ ​see​ ​the​ ​​Friday the 13th​ Jason​ ​Voorhees​ ​​inspired​ ​Nike​ ​HyperDunk’s​ ​worn​ ​by Minnesota​ ​Timberwolves​ ​center​ ​Karl-Anthony​ ​Towns?​ ​Towns​ ​rocked​ ​the​ ​customized​ ​kicks​ ​in Minnesota’s​ ​125-122​ ​Halloween​ ​eve​ ​victory​ ​over​ ​Miami​ ​and​ ​sent​ ​social​ ​media​ ​into​ ​a frenzy—every​ ​NBA-related​ ​page​ ​(on​ ​Twitter,​ ​Instagram,​ ​Facebook,​ ​etc.)​ ​or​ ​website​ ​posted about​ ​the​ ​limited​ ​edition,​ ​handcrafted​ ​masterpiece.​ ​The​ ​sneakers​ ​were​ ​a​ ​pair​ ​no​ ​one​ ​had​ ​ever seen​ ​before​ ​and​ ​had​ ​people​ ​wondering​ ​who​ ​or​ ​where​ ​to​ ​get​ ​them​ ​from.

Was​ ​Van​ ​Gogh​ ​resurrected​ ​into​ ​a​ ​30-year-old​ ​man​ ​from​ ​Los​ ​Angeles,​ ​California​ ​in 2017?​ ​That’s​ ​what​ ​some​ ​may​ ​think.


Customized for Karl-Anthony Tonws


Sal​ ​Amezcua,​ ​known​ ​as​ ​​Kickstradomis on​ ​social​ ​media,​ ​is​ ​a​ ​sneaker​ ​designer​ ​who creates​ ​customized​ ​sneakers,​ ​cleats,​ ​and​ ​other​ ​products​ ​for​ ​professional​ ​athletes​ ​across​ ​a number​ ​of​ ​leagues.​ ​His​ ​clients​ ​include​ ​Towns,​ ​Cleveland​ ​Cavaliers​ ​guard​ ​Iman​ ​Shumpert,​ ​New Orleans​ ​Pelicans​ ​center​ ​DeMarcus​ ​Cousins,​ ​Los​ ​Angeles​ ​Lakers​ ​guard​ ​Josh​ ​Hart,​ ​Los​ ​Angeles Clippers​ ​forward​ ​Montrezl​ ​Harrell,​ ​Los​ ​Angeles​ ​Dodgers​ ​outfielder​ ​Andre​ ​Ethier​ ​and​ ​pitcher Kenley​ ​Jansen,​ ​Los​ ​Angeles​ ​Rams​ ​linebacker​ ​Alec​ ​Ogletree,​ ​defensive​ ​tackle​ ​Tyrunn​ ​Walker and​ ​safety​ ​Blake​ ​Countess,​ ​among​ ​others.​ ​Recently,​ ​the​ ​Los​ ​Angeles​ ​Rams​ ​hired​ ​Amezcua​ ​to create​ ​12​ ​pairs​ ​of​ ​cleats​ ​for​ ​the​ ​NFL’s​ ​Crucial​ ​Catch​ ​campaign​ ​that​ ​spreads​ ​breast​ ​cancer awareness.


Customized for Iman Shumpert


Amezcua​ ​grew​ ​up​ ​with​ ​ambitions​ ​to​ ​become​ ​an​ ​artist.​ ​At​ ​four-years-old​ ​he​ ​decided​ ​he’d begin​ ​creating​ ​whatever​ ​he​ ​desired​ ​with​ ​crayons,​ ​colored​ ​pencils,​ ​and​ ​other​ ​tools.​ ​Designing sneakers​ ​began​ ​when​ ​Amezcua’s​ ​cousin​ ​asked​ ​him​ ​to​ ​restore​ ​a​ ​pair​ ​of​ ​kicks;​ ​he​ ​took​ ​it​ ​one step​ ​further.​ ​After​ ​venturing​ ​to​ ​Youtube​ ​for​ ​ideas​ ​of​ ​sneaker​ ​restoration,​ ​Amezcua​ ​came​ ​across a​ ​sneaker​ ​designer​ ​and​ ​thought,​ ​“I​ ​can​ ​do​ ​that​ ​too.”​ ​He​ ​restored​ ​the​ ​sneakers​ ​and​ ​began designing.​ ​Today—with​ ​the​ ​same​ ​enthusiasm​ ​his​ ​four-year-old​ ​self​ ​had—he​ ​earns​ ​a​ ​living through​ ​his​ ​talent.​ ​Along​ ​with​ ​sneakers,​ ​he​ ​also​ ​has​ ​experience​ ​painting​ ​on​ ​walls,​ ​murals,​ ​and canvas.


Customized for Karl-Anthony Towns


Amezcua​ ​built​ ​a​ ​foundation​ ​by​ ​doing​ ​custom​ ​designs​ ​for​ ​fans​ ​and​ ​used​ ​social​ ​media​ ​to spread​ ​the​ ​word.​ ​After​ ​a​ ​few​ ​sneakers​ ​were​ ​complete,​ ​people​ ​began​ ​to​ ​take​ ​notice,​ ​including Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola ​contacted​ ​Amezcua​ ​to​ ​design​ ​30​ ​pairs​ ​of​ ​Nike​ ​Air​ ​Force​ ​1​ ​sneakers around​ ​Christmas​ ​time​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Sprite​ ​Cranberry​ ​product.​ ​​Coca-Cola ​gave​ ​pairs​ ​of​ ​the​ ​exclusive sneakers​ ​to​ ​celebrities​ ​like​ ​Drake,​ ​Nas,​ ​and​ ​even​ ​Floyd​ ​Mayweather’s​ ​daughter.​ ​Then,​ ​athletes began​ ​taking​ ​notice.​ ​Karl-Anthony​ ​Towns,​ ​who​ ​was​ ​the​ ​NBA​ ​Rookie​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Year​ ​in​ ​2016,​ ​is Amezcua’s​ ​most​ ​frequent​ ​athlete​ ​client,​ ​and​ ​their​ ​relationship​ ​is​ ​much​ ​more​ ​than​ ​sneakers.


“[Karl-Anthony]​ ​Towns​ ​isn’t​ ​just​ ​a​ ​client,​ ​he’s​ ​a​ ​friend,”​ ​Amezcua​ ​said.​ ​“After​ ​connecting with​ ​him,​ ​a​ ​few​ ​weeks​ ​in,​ ​he​ ​invited​ ​me​ ​down​ ​to​ ​his​ ​house​ ​and​ ​we​ ​had​ ​a​ ​meeting​ ​about sneakers.​ ​We​ ​hit​ ​it​ ​off,​ ​and​ ​since,​ ​he’s​ ​opened​ ​some​ ​huge​ ​doors​ ​for​ ​me.”


Amezcua​ ​said​ ​Towns​ ​simply​ ​gave​ ​him​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​sneakers​ ​and​ ​a​ ​few​ ​ideas​ ​and themes​ ​he’s​ ​interested​ ​in,​ ​then​ ​trusted​ ​his​ ​abilities​ ​to​ ​make​ ​a​ ​successful​ ​design.


Customized for Karl-Anthony Towns


Towns—whose​ ​size​ ​20​ ​shoe​ ​is​ ​currently​ ​the​ ​largest​ ​in​ ​the​ ​NBA—has​ ​already​ ​worn​ ​four of​ ​Amezcua’s​ ​designs;​ ​twice​ ​in​ ​the​ ​NBA​ ​preseason,​ ​once​ ​in​ ​a​ ​scrimmage,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​most​ ​famous Friday the 13th inspired​ ​pair​ ​against​ ​Miami.​ ​Towns​ ​was​ ​afraid​ ​the​ ​NBA​ ​would​ ​fine​ ​him​ ​for​ ​the sneakers,​ ​but​ ​he​ ​didn’t​ ​care;​ ​he​ ​fell​ ​in​ ​love​ ​with​ ​the​ ​design​ ​and​ ​wore​ ​them​ ​during​ ​the​ ​game. Amezcua​ ​says​ ​Towns​ ​told​ ​him​ ​“I’ll​ ​take​ ​the​ ​fine…​ ​I’m​ ​gonna​ ​wear​ ​them.”

Since​ ​Towns’​ ​custom​ ​pair​ ​blew​ ​up​ ​on​ ​social​ ​media,​ ​Amezcua’s​ ​popularity​ ​has​ ​increased dramatically​ ​and​ ​has​ ​seen​ ​growing​ ​demand​ ​for​ ​his​ ​ability.​ ​He​ ​has​ ​thought​ ​of​ ​reaching​ ​out​ ​to other​ ​designers​ ​to​ ​help​ ​him​ ​out​ ​during​ ​hectic​ ​times.


“It’s​ ​been​ ​nuts…​ ​my​ ​phone​ ​hasn’t​ ​stopped​ ​buzzing,​ ​and​ ​my​ ​DM’s​ ​are​ ​flooded,”​ ​Amezcua said.​ ​“I’m​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​formulate​ ​a​ ​team​ ​and​ ​get​ ​people​ ​I​ ​can​ ​mold​ ​into​ ​great​ ​designers.​ ​It’s​ ​getting crazy,​ ​and​ ​it’s​ ​getting​ ​to​ ​a​ ​point​ ​where​ ​I’m​ ​gonna​ ​need​ ​help.”


Customized for Andre Ethier and Kenley Jansen


The​ ​process​ ​of​ ​designing​ ​a​ ​pair​ ​could​ ​take​ ​anywhere​ ​from​ ​three​ ​to​ ​24​ ​hours—the​ ​type​ ​of sneaker​ ​(high​ ​top​ ​or​ ​low),​ ​brand,​ ​material,​ ​size,​ ​design​ ​and​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​detail​ ​all​ ​play​ ​a​ ​factor. Amezcua​ ​strictly​ ​uses​ ​tools​ ​from​ ​companies​ ​who​ ​endorse​ ​him,​ ​including​ ​​Jacquard Products paints,​ ​​Iwata airbrushes,​ ​and​ ​​Princeton Artist Brush paint​ ​brushes.​ ​Amezcua​ ​is​ ​also​ ​endorsed by​ ​the​ ​sneaker​ ​cleaner​ ​company​ ​​Reshoevn8r.


“Every​ ​brand​ ​has​ ​its​ ​easy​ ​model​ ​to​ ​work​ ​on,”​ ​Amezcua​ ​said.​ ​“It​ ​comes​ ​down​ ​to​ ​the material​ ​I’m​ ​working​ ​on.​ ​If​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​flat​ ​leather​ ​surface,​ ​I​ ​can​ ​do​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​more​ ​detail​ ​work.​ ​​Converse Chuck​ ​Taylor’s​ ​or​ ​Vans​ ​make​ ​it​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​easier.​ ​With​ ​time,​ ​I’ve​ ​developed​ ​skills​ ​and​ ​techniques​ ​to make​ ​every​ ​shoe​ ​easy.”


Designing​ ​a​ ​sneaker​ ​for​ ​a​ ​client​ ​with​ ​a​ ​size​ ​8.5​ ​shoe​ ​compared​ ​to​ ​a​ ​professional​ ​athlete whose​ ​size​ ​is​ ​apart​ ​from​ ​the​ ​norm​ ​is​ ​a​ ​whole​ ​different​ ​ballgame.


“It’s​ ​tougher​ ​and​ ​easier​ ​at​ ​the​ ​same​ ​time,”​ ​Amezcua​ ​noted.​ ​“Tougher​ ​because​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​lot more​ ​of​ ​an​ ​area​ ​to​ ​work​ ​on,​ ​but​ ​easier​ ​because​ ​I​ ​can​ ​put​ ​more​ ​fine​ ​detail​ ​on​ ​that​ ​canvas.“


Pride​ ​and​ ​passion​ ​for​ ​art​ ​are​ ​extremely​ ​important​ ​to​ ​Amezcua.​ ​He​ ​is​ ​an​ ​admirer​ ​of creativity​ ​and​ ​enjoys​ ​spreading​ ​artistic​ ​techniques​ ​through​ ​hands-on​ ​seminars​ ​with​ ​children.​ ​Art seminars​ ​have​ ​been​ ​held​ ​at​ ​venues​ ​and​ ​studios​ ​in​ ​Los​ ​Angeles,​ ​New​ ​York,​ ​and​ ​Chicago.​ ​In​ ​the near​ ​future,​ ​Amezcua​ ​plans​ ​on​ ​demonstrating​ ​his​ ​creations​ ​on​ ​his​ ​Youtube​ ​channel Kickstradomis TV.



Since​ ​becoming​ ​well-known​ ​on​ ​social​ ​media,​ ​he​ ​has​ ​seen​ ​designers​ ​competing​ ​in​ ​the field,​ ​and​ ​he​ ​doesn’t​ ​like​ ​it.


“[The​ ​art​ ​industry]​ ​is​ ​pretty​ ​cutthroat,​ ​and​ ​there​ ​are​ ​plenty​ ​of​ ​people​ ​doing​ ​it​ ​to​ ​compete and​ ​not​ ​for​ ​the​ ​love​ ​of​ ​it,”​ ​Amezcua​ ​said.​ ​“It’s​ ​supposed​ ​to​ ​be​ ​for​ ​the​ ​passion​ ​and​ ​love.​ ​I’m​ ​not here​ ​to​ ​compete,​ ​I’m​ ​here​ ​to​ ​give​ ​and​ ​live​ ​through​ ​my​ ​art,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​wish​ ​that’s​ ​what​ ​everybody​ ​else does.”



Sal​ ​Amezcua​ ​has​ ​made​ ​astonishing​ ​sneaker​ ​designs​ ​for​ ​the​ ​public​ ​and​ ​plans​ ​to​ ​continue forming​ ​relationships​ ​with​ ​athletes​ ​and​ ​celebrities.


“I​ ​don’t​ ​want​ ​to​ ​be​ ​known​ ​for​ ​just​ ​painting​ ​sneakers…​ ​I​ ​want​ ​to​ ​be​ ​known​ ​as​ ​someone [who]​ ​helped​ ​pioneer​ ​the​ ​custom​ ​culture​ ​further​ ​and​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​motivate​ ​and​ ​inspire​ ​the​ ​youth.”


To​ ​see​ ​more​ ​of​ ​Amezcua’s​ ​designs,​ ​follow​ ​​Kickstradomis on​ ​Instagram,​ ​Twitter, Facebook,​ ​and​ ​Snapchat.​ ​Subscribe​ ​to​ ​​Kickstradomis TV ​on​ ​YouTube​ ​for​ ​new​ ​videos​ ​coming soon.

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