While wearing a fresh pair of kicks is always one way to get noticed, customizing your shoes is a sure-fire way to differentiate them even more.

“There are so many people who buy the same things at the same time and that’s where it starts for me in my mind — if 500 people have this same pair of shoes, what can I do besides lacing to make mine stand out?” asked designer Alexander John, who has created custom gear for celebrities such as Dwyane Wade and Meek Mill. He’s also worked with brands including Puma and Reebok, the latter of which he helped conceive a makeup-inspired sneaker for model Jasmine Sanders, dubbed the Freestyle Hi Contour.

As noted by John, switching up the laces is an easy introduction into modifying footwear, but there are many other methods worth experimenting with. Below, the expert shoe customizer shares tips and tricks on decking out your sneakers (and other styles) for a look that captures your true individuality.

After lacing, one of the go-to ways to alter shoes is simply drawing on them with tools including sharpies, paint markers and even pens. John explains that it’s okay if you’re not Vincent van Gogh with your designs — in fact, what’s currently trending is the opposite.

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