A man in Kentucky has really stepped up his sneaker game.
Marcus Floyd, 39, calls himself a “sneakerhead” and makes custom shoes for clients on the side. The tourism board in his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, asked him to make unique shoes for horses.
The sneaker designer told The Washington Post that he worked with the tourism board to come up with a shoe idea that pictured horse athletes in the same way as their human counterparts.
Floyd told the outlet, “They thought it would be cool to make the horses look like athletes, because that’s what they are.”
The idea turned into a project called Horse Kicks, in which Floyd made custom sneakers for stallions that looked like the Nike, Adidas, and New Balance shoes that many human athletes wear.
“These multi-millionaires [the horses] have been wearing standard horseshoes for far too long,” the tourism board, Visit Lex, said on its website to promote the project.
“Horse Kicks is here to change that… to give drip to horses of all breeds and disciplines.”
Floyd owns the fashion brand Infinite Kustomz and has made one-of-a-kind sneakers for Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men. He is used to taking popular shoe styles and changing them into something new.
In 2020, the sneaker artist went to The Shoe Surgeon’s SRGN Academy in Los Angeles for a four-day intensive.
There, he learned how to take apart popular sneakers without destroying them and use the parts to make something new.
The Washington Post says that it can take Floyd up to 17 hours to make a new pair of shoes from the materials.
Floyd started making functional horse shoes after Visit Lex first talked to him about it in June.
Floyd’s Horse Kicks were built around a protective boot for horses that was already made, and the rest of the design was based on human sneakers.
Floyd’s final products for his project with Visit Lex looked like tiny versions of the sneakers that athletes and other famous people often wear.
Lexington is often called the “Horse Capital of the World.” The Horse Kicks, which are being shown as an art installation, are meant to make people who are visiting the city for the Breeder’s Cup on November 4 and 5 think about how athletic racehorses are.
“There’s a huge market for shoes for these athletes, whether they’re running, jumping, or just going to the show,” Floyd said, adding that he hopes the companies “understand the market for the horse-athlete.”