I wasn't sure if I would ever get them finished. The beaded sneakers are definitely one of the, if not THE most time consuming project I have ever worked on. It's rather funny that it actually started out as something I made to use my stash of bugles and ended up in a kind of an obsession.
The beads are stitched on in backstitch, always a combination of one bugle and one seed bead at a time, so that may give you an idea of how much time went into these shoes. When I started working on them, I had grabbed my only pair of jeans sneakers. I had the idea and I wanted to try it right away and not have to wait for a shoe order. What I had not taken into account, however, was that those shoes were not meant to have laces. They have elastic bands on both sides of the tongue which means you can't pull that out, and you can't open up the sides. Now that meant I had to work blindly from the inside on most parts of the shoes and feel around with my hand inside of them to find the right spots for my needle, and more than once the needle thought my finger was just right. A lot of times I had to try several times before the needle finally ended up in the right spot. So if you want to try this, be smart and don't use this kind of shoes!
Another problem was finding that the blue bead mix wouldn't suffice for both shoes and I wanted to use my stash, not order more beads. So I mixed up a batch of transparent warm colored bugles instead and went for a "Night and Light" design. Even if that had not been the plan, I liked the effect.
Those were not the only problems, though. Like many sneakers these ones also had reinforced heels which was one reason for leaving them unbeaded. That reinforcement, however, also went around the sides into part of the back segments. I broke quite a few needles on these parts although I used pliers. With pliers and my hand in the shoe it got quite crowded in there, I tell you that! ;-)
Then there were the tongues which tend to crumple up at the top due to the elastic bands, so I couldn't use bugles sideways there, not to forget the big leather logo that I didn't dare taking off or stitching through. My solution for that was to use the beads lengthwise, but more spaced out than those in the side segments.
The middle segments had little logos in the center for those people who fail to notice the big one (can you tell I'm not a fan?). I had no scruples hiding them and luckily the center part was fabric with rivets only in the corners. Do you notice how the beads seem to cave in at that spot? That's because the border of the logo was a bit higher, but at least the rivets had the perfect space between them, so I could fit my bugles in. The spaces between the holes for the shoelaces (these are functional) proved similarly difficult because I needed shorter bugles there, but most of them were one size and too large. I had to cut off a few and filed them down to protect my thread. That sounds a lot easier than it actually was because it's not easy to hold such a small bead and file at the same time.
I kept the "curved" segments with the two holes towards the tip of the shoes for last. These holes are non-functional, there's an extra layer of fabric sewn on underneath. I tried, but thicker fabric and even less space because of the shoe curving towards towards the sole won over my determination, so I just "sprinkled" a few seed beads on which connects it with the "sprinkles" on the tongues.
A friend suggested to try out some satin shoe laces for the extra kick. I'll let you know how that works out!