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For a while now, I have been searching for cycling shoes that are fashionable and comfortable enough to wear every day.  A while ago I got a pair of 611 Filter shoes (reviewed here) that have become my favorite every day shoe.  However, I still felt like I hadn’t attained the holy grail of sneaker cool – Nike Dunks.  Nike did this themselves a year or so back with the Gyrizo shoe for the Beijing Olympics, but only a small number were made and they sold for around $300.  Even if you can afford that price tag, you can’t find them for sale anywhere…

…And so this past Sunday, I busted out my tools and made good on my dream to create an unholy alliance of Nike Dunks and SPD cleats:

Read on for a complete tutorial on how I made them.

Ingredients:

An old pair of “Slam City” Dunks, size 9.5:

… mashed-up with a pair of old Adidas Girano road shoes Size 9

…and a set of Shimano SPD cleats:

684shimano_xxl


Tools:
Dremel Multi-tool with large cutter wheel
electric drill
flathead screwdriver
goggles and face protection

Instructions

Step 1: I removed the insoles from the Girano shoes. Then I used the cutter wheel to remove the sole of the Girano from the upper. The insole was a bit too thick so I used the flathead screwdriver to pry off the padding to strip it down to the raw plastic sole.

Here’s a pic of the Girano upper when I was done:

Step 2: I unlaced the Dunks and removed the insole. I replaced the insole with the hard plastic bottom from the Girano, taking note of where the slots were for the SPD cleats.

Step 3: I took the Girano insole out and then I used the cutter wheel to slice a rectangle out of the Dunk’s outer sole.

Step 4: I put the Girano insole back in and used the drill to cut bolt holes in the sole of the dunk, using the Girano insole as a guide.

Step 5: I put the retaining boltplates into the Girano insole and then bolted the SPD cleats to the Dunk sole.

Step 6: I put the Girano insoles into the Dunks to cover over the hard plastic insole.

Results:

It works! I had to play with the positioning of the cleats a bit, but they lock in and unlock fine. They seem comfortable enough for walking around, although they are a little tight. This is because of the thickness of the Girano insole. I think this would work better had I used a shoe a half-size bigger than what I usually wear. Foot retention decent; I was able to skid without any worry of coming out of the shoe.

I’d like to try this again with a slightly larger shoe, and next time I will do the cutting outside – it smoked and stank something fierce! Now my apt. smells like burnt rubber. I had to wear goggles and a bandanna because the amount of  smoking hot rubber chunks that were going everywhere.

So far, they seem fine for walking around, and fine for casual cycling. and you can’t tell they have cleats in them unless you see the soles.   Of course, I need to use them for a couple weeks to really know.  This first attempt was an experiment / proof of concept.  In a couple weeks I’ll be ready for a round 2, with a pair of size 10′s.   I’ll try to document the process better that time, maybe make a video.  In the meantime, leave a comment to let me know if you think this is cool, and if you try this mashup yourself.

15 Responses to “Nike Dunks with SPD cleats”

  1. Gabe says:

    man that is awesome, nice work!

  2. Christian says:

    Great stuff. I wish I had thought of it! I’ve felt that same frustration after the gyrizo’s came out.

  3. dontcoast says:

    sweet! i just killed a pair of filters and this sounds like a sweet solution!

  4. blair says:

    SICK. i’ve been looking for something EXACTLY like this for a while. i prefer the control of SPDs to other FRS’s (i’m an oldSchool masher, not a fixed freestyler), but i HATE having to carry shoes with me everywhere.

    thanks for the tutorial! it’s well appreciated!

  5. applesauce says:

    very impressive.

  6. prettyboy says:

    Nice post, it’s good of you to explain how to do it. Lots of people ask me how to do it or are impressed when they see them.
    A mate of mine did them for me but is not really interested in doing them for people.
    Do you mind if I put this post on my links page for the greater good of humanity?
    Have a look at my shell toes if you’re interested.

    http://www.skingrowsback.com/gallery/

  7. naptrax says:

    Thank you “prettyboy,” your mate Frag’s shelltoes were one of the inspirations for this mod. I saw them on the Candycranks site (http://www.candycranks.com/archives/3030) but the pictures you linked above are much more informative. The next pair of shoes I make will be shelltoes like Frag’s, since they have a better arch and the rubber toe cap probably deals with wind chill better.

  8. DBR says:

    SO COOL!
    I tried to do this once with a piece of sheet metal rather than the road shoe sole like you did, it was a total failure. Good thinking recycling the sole. I’m all about it.

  9. a buddy of mine and myself had talked about contacting a local shoe guy about something along these lines. with this tutorial I think I’ll just go for it myself!

    awesome stuff. maybe some ‘shoe goo’ to provide more of a combined sole/prevent the rubber from peeling back?

  10. RT says:

    http://bike.shimano.com/publish/content/global_cycle/en/us/index/products/shoes/road/product.-code-SH-MT22.-type-.html

    I know some people just have to have fashion sneakers, but the new entry-level shimano commuter shoe is the best looking clipless shoe to date.

  11. naptrax says:

    meh, that Shimano shoe is ugly in my opinion. i’ve done a lot of research into “casual” clipless shoes and very few appeal to me from an aesthetic or fashion perspective. That’s why I did this modification, to “have my cake and eat it too” so to speak.

    since people keep trying to suggest off-the-shelf shoes though, perhaps I will put together a buyers’ guide of what’s out there for folks who are looking for something like this but don’t want to roll their own.

  12. DIY ! says:

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  13. Custom Dunks says:

    They were what I expected and then some…

  14. JGRIZZY says:

    dude, awesome, I just tried to do ot with some dcs, but the soul was too thick

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