JBF Customs x adidas Pro Model “Red Python”

  • DESIGNED BY: Jake Ferrato (JBF Customs)

Many years ago I attended Art College, not a particularly memorable year in my life. It certainly wasn’t a productive time. My body and mind were subjected to substances that induced short term memory loss and a state of lethargy. Ahhh… good times.

Seriously, some of us go through academia sitting in the passenger seat and some of us go through driving; making the most of each experience and every opportunity. If you can hold down your studies and manage to set up and run a business through College, then you’re a driver. And Jake Ferrato is definitely a driver.

But not only that, he’s a shoe customizer and reconstruction craftsman; under the name JBF Customs he has made a deep impression on the custom shoe world. And he is only twenty one years old. I had to find out more, and from the man himself.

Jake, tell the eatmoreshoes crew a bit about yourself… where are you from and what are your interests?

Well, I’m from Akron, Ohio. I’m twenty one right now and I’m about to be a senior in college. I’m a big fan of cartoons; I wish I could be as clever as Bugs, even play for the Toon Squad with Jordan!


Yep, he’s a sharp bunny. Jake you have so much ahead of you right now, but is there a stand out achievement that you can share?

I don’t feel like I’ve done anything significant yet but, I guess the thing that was the most personally satisfying was getting JBF Customs as a business to the point that it could be my only job last summer, in 2011. For now it’s going good. Hopefully I can get to the point that I don’t need a real job after graduating college in May.

On the creative end, I’m most satisfied with some of the stuff that I haven’t put out yet. I’m really excited about the things that will be dropping in the next few months. Not just new designs, but entirely new products as well. Chained pouches, and jackets most notably.

JBF Customs is definitely a significant achievement in our opinion. How did you get into customising and reconstructing?

Well I originally started painting shoes in 2008, I think. I saw other people customizing shoes on the forums, and just wanted to do it. I’m picky, so I liked the idea of having exactly what I want. I’m horrible at painting though, and honestly it didn’t let me get what I wanted. I like premium materials done in really clean combinations. The painting work is great, but not what I particularly like to wear. So I started doing reconstructed sneakers around late 2009, and got into it seriously over the summer of 2010. Been working on them ever since. I actually design ‘em for myself to wear, I’m just lucky other people have similar taste.

Original ideas are as rare as hen’s teeth, but you have some very cool designs. Where do you draw inspiration from? What influences you?

I’m influenced by the things I like and see on a daily basis. The people I interact with. Everything really.

Do you have a favourite pair?

My latest pair is pretty much always my favorite. So right now it’s these Red Python Pro Models. I had been wanting some red shoes for a long time, and the texture of snakeskin is so cool, and I always have it around, so I made ‘em. I added a lambskin liner to make ‘em extra comfortable, and tucked all the edges to make ‘em have a more clean, luxurious look. Then I burned “JBF” into the heel of each shoe by hand, and added the studs to the tongue.

The Pro Model is a distinctive silhouette and an unusual base for a custom; you don’t see many around.

Yeah, recently I’ve really gotten to like shell toes. No idea why, but I have lots of ideas for them at the moment.

We’re looking forward to some more! They’re an outstanding piece of craftsmanship… so who are these creations for? What is JBF clientele like in general?

With clients, the best are just the normal people who really support my work… they’re the ones who are a pleasure to work with. Always patient and appreciative. As far as
celebs – who are much more difficult to deal with – Curren$y ended up getting a pair of my customs.

Bei Maejor is also wearing the American Struggle hat in his Lights Down Low video with Waka Flocka Flame, and most recently TYGA has been supporting my work, wearing a few snakeskin Last Kings hats around pretty often.

So, managing your workload is as important as managing your clients!

Maybe you can give the readers some tips. What are the biggest challenges in this type of work? Any tips for first-time reconstructors?

Getting your name out to people is definitely easier said than done. It’s all about networking well. Learning the craft itself takes patience. As far as tips, you have to be persistent with it, and be doing it because you like it. You will, one hundred percent guaranteed, lose money in the beginning. You have to do it ’cause you enjoy it. It’s not, by any means, a get-rich-quick scheme.

We can see you have love for your craft and it’s reflected in the work. So, what’s next for JBF?

We’ll see! I’m definitely excited, I’m looking forward to the next few months. I can’t wait to show you all some of the stuff I’ve been working on. I’m trying to make JBF into something that offers all kinds of products. Once I started customizing shoes, it then expanded to hats. JBF keeps expanding as I have more ideas; it’s growing naturally to encompass more and more products. I’m having a lot of fun doing it, meeting and interacting with all kinds of people through it. I met the first person I ever sold a pair of shoes to like five years ago at Cleveland’s Got Sole last month, and it was so cool. I’m fortunate to have a really great group of supporters, and I’m so thankful for that.

We hope you’ll come back and show us some more adidas customs soon. Keep up the good work Jake and thanks for sharing your time with us. For those interested, you can check Jake’s many wares on his website.

written by Benji Blunt

photography by JBF Customs