Designing sneakers for professional athletes is the sort of thing customizers dream of, but only a select few can actually say that their creations were worn on the biggest stages in sports. The latest artist to join this club is Mike Sturge, better known online as the man behind Left Coast Laced.

Sturge was recently profiled by Oregon Live, where he explained how he made the jump from painting on sneakers as a hobby to customizing kicks for elite athletes. “I had just seen people doing it on Instagram. I thought I could do that,” Sturge said. Hold up, this all started on Instagram?

According to Sturge, he’s only been doing this for a little over a year, but clearly he caught the attention of the right people. He showed Cleveland Browns’ cornerback Jordan Poyer his work after a chance meeting at a gym, and things have quickly picked up from there. Poyer wore his first Left Coast Laced customs during a preseason game in August and now, Sturge is working on cleats for Browns players Tashaun Gipson and Joe Haden.

“I’m going to school studying for footwear design, so this plays into that. If it were to take off, I would not pull the plug on it,” Sturge says. With talent like this and just the right amount of luck, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this hobby take off even further.

Check out some of the work Sturge has done for local high school teams below.

[via complex/@leftcoastlaced ]

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