I am the type of person who finds shoes they like, and I really go all-in. For years, I’ve had trouble finding “the perfect active sneakers,” and because I have flat feet, I’ve gone between support sneakers to high-arch insoles and more.

I tried the Nike React Infinity Flyknit sneakers and kept quoting them as “my favorite sneakers ever.” So, I wanted to get another pair. I thought, “Why not try Nike’s shoe customizer?” It’s called Nike By You.

In this review of Nike By You, see how my custom online design experience went, and if the “By You” running shoes turned out as I expected.

What to know about Nike By You custom shoe design

I enjoyed customizing a pair of Flyknit running sneakers with Nike By You. I went the full nine yards and got custom text and everything! What to know about getting Nike By You and designing your shoes online is pretty straightforward:

  • You get to use the “Customize” button at the bottom of where you have your shoe size choice for a sneaker product. Then, you go step by step to customize and choose every aspect of your shoes.
  • At the end, hooray: they will ship to you in exactly the manner you chose them.
  • Know this: the end price may be different than the price for the regular designs.
  • Also, customization “By You” is NOT available for every shoe, and for some shoe styles, it may be available one day, and not available the next.
  • The shoes are delivered in “4 weeks or less,” which is a lot longer than choosing a regular design, so if you need your shoes for a race or on a deadline, Nike By You will delay that. (Note: the “Help” page quotes 6 weeks or less as the turnaround time for delivery)

Nike By You Custom Design Experience

I had never designed my own shoes before, so I hoped I had a knack for it. I think I’d describe it as “customizing every aspect of any of Nike’s footwear that allows the “By You” design option.”

I didn’t even really plan on trying out Nike By You, because I’m not someone who dreamed deeply of having customized sneakers. I’m cool with Nike’s options of various colors, and I usually get gray, black or blue running shoes that’ll go with lots of outfits.

Here’s how to do it.

Select your size, then customize

After choosing your shoe size for the sneaker product you want to design, click the Customize button. This will bring you to a new screen with a 3D interactive image of your shoes.

Customize every bit of the shoe

It was beyond me how many parts of a sneaker there are for customizing. I customized the Upper, “Swoosh,” Heel Accent, Lining and Laces. Guess what: I took this opportunity to try “Toggle” styled laces, which I had never considered before. It was kind of a gamble, as I’m a traditional laces person through and through.

Then there’s the Midsole, Midsole Treatment, Outsole and “Shoe Personalization.” This area is at the back of the sole, where you might choose to have it “Blank,” or with a Swoosh logo, or, you can choose custom text.

I was sitting around my friends Alex and Ryan’s house when I was doing this, and I wanted to ask my audience about what kind of text would be most fitting. Ryan suggested “Mama,” and I loved the idea.

See how they turned out!

Choosing “Your Design” to check out

After you finalize your custom shoe design with the By You option, you can “choose” it from Your Designs back on the main product page for the sneaker. As you can see below, I did three drafts of my custom shoe design for my Flyknit shoes, and I finally ordered a fourth design that you don’t see here.

After choosing the design I created, I signed into the Nike website, and purchased like usual.

How did my custom Nikes turn out?

My Nike By You running shoes arrived and I couldn’t wait to see them. I had also ordered the same Flyknit sneaker in one of the regular option designs, just so that I had another pair of my new favorite active sneakers on deck as a double (with traditional laces). I was hoping for the best.

What I like most about my Nike By You shoes is the custom text. I know that no one else in the entire world has these shoes, and that they are mine, created from my custom color choice impulses and my friend’s idea for the custom text at the sole.

Overall, my Nike By You sneakers are pretty awesome, and I’m wearing them right now. They have unique colors that I chose, and they’re the sneaker style I had my heart set on because of how comfortable they make my feet feel.

Worth it?

I think having the opportunity to design my own shoes was something new and cool to do. After all, I had never done something like this before. (See here: my regular running shoes, and my Nike By You version of the same product)

They’d also make a cool gift. For example, if you know someone who absolutely loves the color pink and you know their shoe size and favorite style, you could do a completely pink sneaker with every customized bit made pink.

Are Nike By You custom shoes returnable or exchangeable?

Because I knew my shoe size and I knew that this style shoe would fit me just the way my current ones did, I wasn’t worried about returns and exchanges.

However, if you’re taking a risk by trying a Nike shoe in a new size, or a new style you’ve never worn before, it could be a gamble to go through customizing a shoe only to have it not fit.

Surprisingly (this is good news), Nike By You customized shoes are included in Nike’s regular return policy, which I learned about when I ordered all my Nike petite-style apparel.

More questions about Nike By You

I had a few more questions regarding my custom design Nike sneakers, and got them all answered at the Nike By You FAQ page.

How to customize your Nike shoes

You might happen by chance on an opportunity to “Customize” the sneakers you were looking at to begin with, or you can shop directly at the Nike By You page to see the supported styles.

You can choose the Men’s Collection or Women’s Collection.

Nike sent me the original Nike InfinityRN 4 Women’s Road Running Shoes and the Nike By You InfinityRN 4 Women’s Road Running Shoes as a gift; all opinions, photos and thoughts mentioned here are my own.