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Streetwear Inspired DIY Vans Sneakers and Gift Ideas for Tween Boys


Teens can be hard to buy gifts for but this DIY Sneaker project is unique and will bring out their creative side. It’s easy to do, not too expensive and great for boys and girls!

Comic book inspired outlined Vans sneakers and other great gift ideas for tween boys

You guys! I’ve got my finger on the pulse of tween life! Just kidding. I’m just winging it like all of you.

But I always like to share any info that I do learn to help make your mom life a little bit easier. This gift idea for tween boys are pretty cool! And who couldn’t use a little more help with gift ideas?

Why This is a Good Gift Idea

This make-your-own sneaker gift can hardly be considered a DIY which means your teen won’t need any special artistic skills. And if your kids are anything like mine, they won’t want a project that takes too long either.

It’s not super expensive and even if they decide they don’t want to do the project part, they’ll still end up with a nice pair of shoes.

I love any gift idea that helps to draw out their creativity and put their own style on something. And this does just that. Plus finding gift ideas for boys can be so hard.

My tween is really into streetwear. If you aren’t familiar, it’s a laid-back, casual style with roots in California surf and skate culture (although New York is also a big player and influence).

Of course, this is not out of left field since my husband has spent almost his whole career in the action sports industry in So Cal.

Starting last year, my son started to really get into these streetwear brands and create his personal style.

I started hearing my husband and son talk about buying plain white Vans to customize. Then I realized that it was because of a cool new trend my son was seeing in streetwear.

Printable pages on top of an image of kitchen gadgets with text next to it.

What to Buy for the Gift

The gift is a plain pair of white Vans tennis shoes. And a black Sharpie marker. That’s it! This was originally done with White Old Skool Vans, which they also make in a high top.

My son requested the fine point markers but it doesn’t really matter.

If you want to let them really be creative, you can give them a variety of marker colors and just let them make their own design.

What is this Hand Drawn Sneaker Trend

Boy using sharpie to make streetwear Vans sneakers.

Joshua Vides, a streetwear vet and artist had started creating comic book-inspired art around town and on clothing, which you can see more of here).

My son came across a pair of his outlined Vans on Instagram and was like, “I can do that!”

And I immediately knew I needed to share it since it would make a great gift idea for other tween boys. It’s just a pair of sneakers, a Sharpie and a whole lot of style!

Vans sneakers with black outlines like a comic book.

Streetwear can be exclusive and expensive and I love that these custom Vans sneakers don’t break the bank and can be done by anyone.

This DIY was also a great way to talk about art and copying, etc. I’m truly loving this tween stage! My son is so open to everything and we have such great conversations. 

Boy in outlined Vans sneakers walking.

They really do look cool too. Even though my son’s pair didn’t turn out quite the same as the original artist, they still look awesome!

You can do it with other shoes too, but Vans are a great reasonable price point and easy to buy in person or online. Have you seen this trend?

More Cool Gift Ideas

Close up of Sneakerhead coloring book cover.

Streetwear often overlaps with sneaker obsessions and that is totally true for my kid. Thankfully, he’s not into collecting the shoes because we don’t have the room or money for that. (Update: he started asking for expensive sneakers. We’re broke).

I knew he would like this Sneakerhead Coloring Book I picked up. Not only could he continue the same Sharpie outlining that he did on the sneakers, but then he could design his own sneaker designs too.

Tween coloring in sneaker-themed coloring book which is a great gift idea for tween boys.

Teen and tween boys can be so hard to shop for! I think these presents for boys are a great place to start if you need to shop for a boy age 9-13. What do you buy for boys that age?!

Leave a comment and let me know! With his birthday coming up, I can use all the help I can get!

Shop more teen gift ideas on my Amazon Storefront.

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  1. That’s so funny that you posted about this today, my son was just talking about creating his own vans with his own original art. Thanks for sharing!

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