Revolutionising football culture through making custom-made boots

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FotMob takes a look inside the work of the only premium wearable art studios in the world which produces custom-made boots for the world’s best footballers.


By Filip Mishov


An ever-growing trend is emerging in football with the rising stars like Trent Alexander Arnold, Pape Matar Sarr and Vinicius Junior among many others deciding to wear custom-made boots instead of traditional ones, which embody their burning desire to connect with the game and its fans further, on a deeply personal as well as emotional level. But who is behind these unique designs which are made from scratch, how many hours or even days go into making the so-called ‘OneOfAKind’ boots and finally, how did it all start? We sat down with Satja Grabuloski – the founder and CEO of Swithadot Studios or “your favourite football player’s favourite customising studios” as the Macedonian describes it, to find out what is happening behind the scenes.

It wasn’t an easy ride for the young boy who used to draw on his junior-basketball trainers with permanent markers back in 2005, but now, a whole team is tirelessly working on his ‘lunatic’ idea born on a parking lot near the Vardar river in Skopje – the capital of Macedonia, and they make you want to own a pair of yours.

“Swithadot is born out of my childhood passion for doodling my shoes. Growing up and seen painting on kicks becoming a global trend, I decided to try and form a business venture out of my childhood hobby. Started solo armed with just a sharpie, today we boast a team of designers building their careers under the S. label. Despite starting with a mid-term business plan, everything written in it looked like a super long shot. But again, building the relationships slowly and opening one door at a time, my mindset was that if I keep the grind, the business will eventually take off. And it did.”

The patented ‘OneOfAKind’ designs can’t be replicated and are made only once for the players, which make their impressive artwork even more remarkable as the Swithadot team goes through hours of research and prefers direct communication with the football stars to get their ideas and messages across the boots.

“The most important step in creating ‘OneOfAKind’ designs is the thorough background research we do for each project. Regular client or celebrity, we dive deep into who the client is – his preferences, his story, his daily favourites. Even his favorite restaurant, meal, city etc. can sometimes give you a design direction that resonates emotionally with the client. Each project fee includes up to 80 hours hand-customisation work by The S. Team, using our durable patented COLORS.®️ through the process, with mid-rate of 65-75 hours per project in general. However, the more complex the design gets, the more working hours are needed, with high complexity designs going up to 200-300+ working hours to get a piece done. Over the years of working in this field, I’ve come to the conclusion about the importance of involving the athlete in the design process. This engagement not only boosts stronger relationship but also results in better design solution. While athletes may not be formally trained as designers, their input is invaluable in determining what they want to wear. Therefore, my approach is always to give them the opportunity to express their thoughts and preferences. I’ve learned that you never know what ideas someone may hold until you give them the floor.”

Now, since we have become familiar with Swithadot’s extraordinary work, it is time to take a look at some of the eye-catching designs requested by their A-list players which include the likes of Sergio Ramos, Nemanja Matic, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic, Elif Elmas, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Adama Traore, Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland and last but definitely not least, Cristiano Ronaldo. However, the innovative Satja points out a couple of design requests from players which have stood out through the years due to its creative approach and complexity to make them.

“Each pair is really significant, having in mind the work and passion going into each one of them. Probably one of the funniest designs we did was the MinionzetteS. – a Minions-inspired design for the than-Arsenal captain, Alex Lacazette. The pair went viral, with the Minions joining the online hype with video of them dancing.

We have worked on tons of crazy design ideas for the most creative football player in the world – the Armenian National Team and Slovan Bratislava striker, Tigran Barseghyan. His ideas are unmatched! Through the years we have done tons of really creative customs, with an Aladdin design receiving Design of the year award by L’Equippe in 2019. Honorable design theme mentions that Tigran has worn through the years – Hulk, Mickey Mouse, Smurfs, Asterix and Obelix, Batman and Joker.”

One of the most rewarding parts of the process beside the design creation is seeing the boots worn on football’s biggest stages, like Camp Nou, admits Grabuloski.

“I would say that we had more than one big moment – Vinicius Jr. rocking a pair of whiteout Mercurials against Barcelona was definitely a viral one; Richarlison wearing the legendary Brazil 9 jersey with a pair of ‘OneOfAKind’ on his feet; Futcrunch, one of the leading football youtubers gifting ‘OneOfAKind’ pair to Erling Haaland in Japan; Most recently, the legend Ivan Rakitic showing love to his new team, Al Shabab, with a pair of ‘OneOfAKind’ Predators etc. Some of these projects reached +50M people globally across different social media platforms, which for me is truly sensational.”

Additionally, with most of the players being superstitious, Grabuloski reveals a funny situation.

“Superstition holds a significant sway over many of the players we work with. We’ve had a situation when a Premier League player ordered x20 pairs of the same design simply because he won Man of the Match in his debut game wearing our shoes.”

Swithadot’s inspiring work played a key role in the rise of demand for custom-made boots over the past few years, but Grabuloski also points out the bold role of the younger generation mixed with the nostalgia factor in helping them revolutionise the football culture together.

“The younger generations are aware and progressive. They’ve not only modernized the game but have also elevated it to a whole new level in terms of creativity and individuality. I often used to say that what Becks started back in the 00s, the young ballers have adopted and upgraded. In this contemporary era, individualisation plays a crucial role in shaping one’s personal brand image, hence the lucrative side sponsorship deals that are there for the athletes. The game of football is the most tradition-driven sport on the planet. With that being said, nostalgia is one of the best-selling points. People buy football related stuff mostly driven by the rich history their favourite club has or, as nostalgia for the past. So yeah, the older, OG designs will always hit harder, and this is probably the reason for the ‘OGficiation’ of the brands colorway releases.”

Finally, Swithadot led by Satja and his team will continue to move mountains in order to help football players use their boots as a platform for sharing messages as will their long-coveted hunt to make custom-made boots for none other than, Lionel Messi, described as the last piece of their illustrious boots mosaic.


(Cover image from IMAGO, all other images from swithadot.com , used with permission)


Revolutionising football culture through making custom-made boots

FotMob takes a look inside the work of the only premium wearable art studios in the world which produces custom-made boots for the world’s best footballers.


By Filip Mishov


An ever-growing trend is emerging in football with the rising stars like Trent Alexander Arnold, Pape Matar Sarr and Vinicius Junior among many others deciding to wear custom-made boots instead of traditional ones, which embody their burning desire to connect with the game and its fans further, on a deeply personal as well as emotional level. But who is behind these unique designs which are made from scratch, how many hours or even days go into making the so-called ‘OneOfAKind’ boots and finally, how did it all start? We sat down with Satja Grabuloski – the founder and CEO of Swithadot Studios or “your favourite football player’s favourite customising studios” as the Macedonian describes it, to find out what is happening behind the scenes.

It wasn’t an easy ride for the young boy who used to draw on his junior-basketball trainers with permanent markers back in 2005, but now, a whole team is tirelessly working on his ‘lunatic’ idea born on a parking lot near the Vardar river in Skopje – the capital of Macedonia, and they make you want to own a pair of yours.

“Swithadot is born out of my childhood passion for doodling my shoes. Growing up and seen painting on kicks becoming a global trend, I decided to try and form a business venture out of my childhood hobby. Started solo armed with just a sharpie, today we boast a team of designers building their careers under the S. label. Despite starting with a mid-term business plan, everything written in it looked like a super long shot. But again, building the relationships slowly and opening one door at a time, my mindset was that if I keep the grind, the business will eventually take off. And it did.”

The patented ‘OneOfAKind’ designs can’t be replicated and are made only once for the players, which make their impressive artwork even more remarkable as the Swithadot team goes through hours of research and prefers direct communication with the football stars to get their ideas and messages across the boots.

“The most important step in creating ‘OneOfAKind’ designs is the thorough background research we do for each project. Regular client or celebrity, we dive deep into who the client is – his preferences, his story, his daily favourites. Even his favorite restaurant, meal, city etc. can sometimes give you a design direction that resonates emotionally with the client. Each project fee includes up to 80 hours hand-customisation work by The S. Team, using our durable patented COLORS.®️ through the process, with mid-rate of 65-75 hours per project in general. However, the more complex the design gets, the more working hours are needed, with high complexity designs going up to 200-300+ working hours to get a piece done. Over the years of working in this field, I’ve come to the conclusion about the importance of involving the athlete in the design process. This engagement not only boosts stronger relationship but also results in better design solution. While athletes may not be formally trained as designers, their input is invaluable in determining what they want to wear. Therefore, my approach is always to give them the opportunity to express their thoughts and preferences. I’ve learned that you never know what ideas someone may hold until you give them the floor.”

Now, since we have become familiar with Swithadot’s extraordinary work, it is time to take a look at some of the eye-catching designs requested by their A-list players which include the likes of Sergio Ramos, Nemanja Matic, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic, Elif Elmas, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Adama Traore, Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland and last but definitely not least, Cristiano Ronaldo. However, the innovative Satja points out a couple of design requests from players which have stood out through the years due to its creative approach and complexity to make them.

“Each pair is really significant, having in mind the work and passion going into each one of them. Probably one of the funniest designs we did was the MinionzetteS. – a Minions-inspired design for the than-Arsenal captain, Alex Lacazette. The pair went viral, with the Minions joining the online hype with video of them dancing.

We have worked on tons of crazy design ideas for the most creative football player in the world – the Armenian National Team and Slovan Bratislava striker, Tigran Barseghyan. His ideas are unmatched! Through the years we have done tons of really creative customs, with an Aladdin design receiving Design of the year award by L’Equippe in 2019. Honorable design theme mentions that Tigran has worn through the years – Hulk, Mickey Mouse, Smurfs, Asterix and Obelix, Batman and Joker.”

One of the most rewarding parts of the process beside the design creation is seeing the boots worn on football’s biggest stages, like Camp Nou, admits Grabuloski.

“I would say that we had more than one big moment – Vinicius Jr. rocking a pair of whiteout Mercurials against Barcelona was definitely a viral one; Richarlison wearing the legendary Brazil 9 jersey with a pair of ‘OneOfAKind’ on his feet; Futcrunch, one of the leading football youtubers gifting ‘OneOfAKind’ pair to Erling Haaland in Japan; Most recently, the legend Ivan Rakitic showing love to his new team, Al Shabab, with a pair of ‘OneOfAKind’ Predators etc. Some of these projects reached +50M people globally across different social media platforms, which for me is truly sensational.”

Additionally, with most of the players being superstitious, Grabuloski reveals a funny situation.

“Superstition holds a significant sway over many of the players we work with. We’ve had a situation when a Premier League player ordered x20 pairs of the same design simply because he won Man of the Match in his debut game wearing our shoes.”

Swithadot’s inspiring work played a key role in the rise of demand for custom-made boots over the past few years, but Grabuloski also points out the bold role of the younger generation mixed with the nostalgia factor in helping them revolutionise the football culture together.

“The younger generations are aware and progressive. They’ve not only modernized the game but have also elevated it to a whole new level in terms of creativity and individuality. I often used to say that what Becks started back in the 00s, the young ballers have adopted and upgraded. In this contemporary era, individualisation plays a crucial role in shaping one’s personal brand image, hence the lucrative side sponsorship deals that are there for the athletes. The game of football is the most tradition-driven sport on the planet. With that being said, nostalgia is one of the best-selling points. People buy football related stuff mostly driven by the rich history their favourite club has or, as nostalgia for the past. So yeah, the older, OG designs will always hit harder, and this is probably the reason for the ‘OGficiation’ of the brands colorway releases.”

Finally, Swithadot led by Satja and his team will continue to move mountains in order to help football players use their boots as a platform for sharing messages as will their long-coveted hunt to make custom-made boots for none other than, Lionel Messi, described as the last piece of their illustrious boots mosaic.


(Cover image from IMAGO, all other images from swithadot.com , used with permission)