Kanye West has a famous rap line that goes, “Reeboks baby, you need to try some new things.” Derek Benedict might have the formula for the new things sneakerheads want to get their hands on.
As the shoe game has developed and become more complex, sneaker addicts are looking for new ways to stand out and add flavor to their collections. It can’t just be two pairs of Air Force Ones to stomp around in anymore. Genuine shoe pioneers crave designs on their kicks that simply cannot be found at Finish Line.
This is where Benedict comes in. Born and raised in Naptown, now nineteen-year-old is slowly laying the foundations for an elite shoe customization business. At 16, he bought his first set of acrylic paint brushes and began experimenting on old tennis shoes. Slowly, he developed his skills and birthed the company now known as DMC Kicks.
Highlights of his work include a Kanye West “Gold Digger” pair of Jordan IV’s, an “Easter Egg” Lebron X and a “Bengal” Nike Foamposite.
His work has been featured on shoe sites Kicks on Fire and Sneakernews a plethora of times.
While he has mostly handled basketball shoes, Benedict is capable of handling cleats, baby shoes and even high heels for females.
A key cog in DMC Kicks growth has been Benedict’s use of social media. His Instagram account currently has over 10K followers. He regularly posts pictures of his work with the help of some high-tech camera equipment. His shoes are no longer clever paint jobs on Instagram; Benedict is able to portray his work as 21st century art.
Benedict has collaborated with international and celebrity clients before he could even buy a pack of cigarettes. In November 2013, Benedict completed five pairs of shoes for Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill. A few days later, rap mogul DJ Khaled posted a picture of the “Captain America” Jordan V’s Benedict did for Hill with the caption, “I need these.”
Benedict has also done work for customers in France and Australia as well as an artist in Florida who has worked with the Maybach Music Group.
As for the future, Benedict intends to head to college and earn his degree, but the DMC Kicks brand will live on, continuing to add spice to the ever-changing world of shoes.
(an excerpt from Joshua Hart’s best-selling “Once Upon a Time”)