girly keens… aka How To Customize Kid’s Shoes

If you have children, then you may already be aware. Keens children’s shoes are simply the best. They last so well. So well in fact that they don’t show the same level of wear that most other children’s shoes do. They are great for hand-me-downs too.

I only tell you all of this so that you understand my motivation behind this little project.

I have a good friend with a little girl and two younger boys. She wanted to get Keens for the kids but was bummed that the girly-pink ones her daughter wanted could not be passed down to the boys. So we hatched a plan.

She bought a pair that she felt were universal enough that the boys could inherit them and I stepped in to add some customization that made her daughter feel good about her kicks. These are sort of a very orange tinted coral color.


We decided to go with some small flower fabric appliqués that could be stitched on and later cut off for the boys. The hardest part was finding small enough appliqués that would fit on the rugged straps.


First, I pinned on the flowers and played around with how they would look on the shoes. I played a lot with making each shoe a mirror of each other, similar to what you would find in most stores. In the end, I like that they weren’t completely matched. A little more kid comfortable looking.

I also played with which straps to pin the flowers to and ended up really liking the arrangement of putting one on the velcro strap and the other two alternately down along the shoe.


Simply use straight pins to hold the flowers in place while you make up your mind. But I wouldn’t recommend trying them on your child at this stage. Blood = tears.

Next I used long running stitches along the outer edges of the flowers to anchor them to the straps. I tried to get as close to the edge of the strap as possible so the flowers wouldn’t be too floppy. I also tried my best to not puncture the waterproof (gray part) backing and stick only to the places were the strap was seperate.


Here they are all secured.



The last step I took was to throw them in a bag and toss them in the dryer on high heat for about ten minutes. I wanted the glue backing of the appliqué to adhere lightly to the straps to help hold them down. This step is not absolutely necessary but I thought it would be better to be safe than sorry.

Finally, stick these on your kid and watch them play contentedly.



So here is the reasoning for the long stitches and the whole point of this project. In another 6 months or so, when this little girl outgrows these, her mom can simply snip all of the stitches with a sharp pair of scissors and remove the flowers. Give them a quick cycle through the washing machine and they will be good as new and ready for her little brother to inherit. How great is that!!

Personal Note: I have no affiliation with Keen. Just love them for my own personal use!

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2 Responses to girly keens… aka How To Customize Kid’s Shoes

  1. Noni says:

    What a great idea! Shoes are so expensive and when you can hand them down between the sexes it’s a real win! Great job!

  2. Two generations in this house are fond of Keens! Great idea to pass them down, because it’s true that they just last and last and last! I love that in this disposable world.

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