Journey Middle School science teacher Zac Vine shows off a custom pair of shoes he designed for a Humboldt Bronco player. Vine is one of the top ranked custom shoe designers in the country, and recently did an exploratory workshop with students, teaching them how to design their own shoes. (Dawn Gibson/Sooke News Mirror)

Meet Vancouver Island’s shoe artist for the stars

Sooke artist designs one-of-a-kind sneakers

Zac Vine is no ordinary science teacher.

Vine started teaching at Journey Middle School in Sooke this year, after moving to the Island from Vancouver, and it didn’t take long for his students to find out who he is – one of the top ranked custom shoe designers in the country.

Vine, originally from the Toronto area, graduated university with an education and physics degree, but always found himself doodling in class.

He then got a job working as an educator for Inner City Youth, and started an after school program restoring kids sneakers to make sure they had good shoes to wear.

“I got really in to it, and would look up techniques online on cleaning up shoes. Kids in the neighbourhood would bring in really old shoes and say ‘do whatever you want to them’ so I just started doodling on them,” said Vine. “The kids would tell me, ‘You have to post this stuff on social media,’ so I did, and things kind of just exploded for me.”

Vine started getting tons of attention through Instagram, and decided to start his own business called Yeevy.

Shortly after, Nike caught word of his business and flew him out to their headquarters to meet with him and see the work he was doing.

It has been five years since Vine started his business, and he has designed shoes for multiple celebrities and professional athletes, including Drake, Logic, Cory Taylor, and Aroldis Chapman.

“Just last year Def Leppard came to Vancouver for a few weeks and hung out with me, and I made them shoes to wear on their latest world tour,” said Vine.

Often clients will send an idea or photograph they want on the shoes, but sometimes they will let him freestyle on it.

“One of my favourite things to paint on them are city skylines, I’ve done them for a lot of cities I’ve been do,” added Vine.

A pair of shoes takes him around 30 to 40 hours to make, and sells for anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the design.

Each client sends him the pair of shoes they want designed, and Vine strips the shoes of all the factory paint until it’s just the natural leather. Then he dyes and paints them himself, and then coats them with a finishing spray.

His business has taken him all over North America, including places like New York, Hawaii, and California.

“A lot of my business comes from California, which is actually why I decided to make the move from Ontario to Vancouver,” said Vine, adding that although he loves running his shoe company, it got lonely after a while painting in his apartment, and he wanted to start teaching again.

“I was hired last year to come and do a mural in Sooke, and I heard they were looking for teachers. So that was it, my family and I moved here.”

He hasn’t given up the shoe business though, in fact, Nike just sent him a pair to design for a Humboldt Broncos player. He is also designing a pair of shoes to raffle off, helping fundraise for Journey students to go on a European trip next year.

“I always want it to be something I can fall back on and enjoy,” said Vine. “When I sit down and paint a pair of shoes, everything leaves. It’s my time to slow down, escape and just be totally focused on that. It’s very peaceful.”

On top of it all, Vine has been doing an exploratory program with 41 Journey students, helping them design their own pair of shoes.

“It’s been amazing to see the kids so engaged, and so passionate about making the shoes their own,” said Vine. “I love challenging them to think outside the box, and then seeing those light bulbs go on. Suddenly I have a room of 41 kids that are silent, totally encapsulated in their project. It’s really cool to observe.”

 

Journey Middle School science teacher Zac Vine shows off a custom pair of shoes he designed for a Humboldt Bronco player. Vine is one of the top ranked custom shoe designers in the country, and recently did an exploratory workshop with students, teaching them how to design their own shoes. (Dawn Gibson/Sooke News Mirror)

Just Posted

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

City of Port Alberni issues water quality alert for Kitsuksis Creek area

Kitsuksis Creek residents urged to use alternate drinking water source

Campbell River rallies around Jonah Shankar

Community has raised more than $100,000 for his treatment

$23M downtown Nanaimo hotel project moving forward

PEG Development submitted an updated permit application for a proposed hotel at 100 Gordon St.

Province now allowing tent city campers to stay at Goldstream Park

Contrary to earlier reports, Ministry of Environment says there is no hard deadline for campers to leave, park open to public

Fashion Fridays: Rock some animal print

Kim XO, lets you in on the latest fall fashion trends on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Legal society poster seeks complainants against two cops on Downtown Eastside

Pivot Legal Society became aware of allegations made against the officers after a video circulated

Jury to deliberate in case of Calgary man accused of murdering woman

Curtis Healy could be convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter

House arrest for man who abused disabled B.C. woman, then blamed her

‘Groomed complainant’ and ‘violated position of trust,’ judge says

Liberals want to know what Canadians think of legalized weed

The federal government will comb social media for Canadians’ pot-related behaviour

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen boasts of aiding Mueller investigation

Cohen could provide information on whether Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Russians

Landslide forces evacuations of Philippine villages

More than 1,200 people in villages near the landslide-hit area were forcibly moved by authorities

Students asked about the positive effects of residential schools

Alberta’s education minister apologized after hearing about the online social studies course

Most Read