BEREA, Ky. (LEX18) — UK football is coming off their best season in decades. Some players not only caught attention on the field for their play, but in one area they can express themselves, their cleats.
“Benny (Snell) had the idea to put Elton John. And he called me, ‘that dude that sings the song that they play when I score touchdowns,'” said Jeremy Thompson with Showtime Customs.
Snell, Josh Allen, and Wesley Woodyard are just a few of the now-former UK football players who have worn custom designed kicks envisioned and crafted by one man from Madison County, and his exacto knife.
“If you get me an idea, and I’m in love with it, you’re gonna get my best effort,” said Thompson.
Thompson’s day job is as a teacher at Paint Lick Middle School in Garrard County. With passions for sneakers and art, he merged the two earlier this decade.
Thompson links memories to almost every pair of sneakers in his collection.
“I know the pair of shoes I was working on the day my dad had a stroke. I don’t think I’ve worn them since then,” said Thompson.
But he keeps those sneakers within an arm’s reach while he crafts his next design. His Instagram now has more than 1,000 posts, many with a story to tell.
In one post, there’s a video showing an overjoyed teen showing off his custom Nike’s that are graced with Kona Ice.
“Seeing him excited about a pair of shoes for something he loves made my day,” said Thompson.
But the most meaningful designed pair isn’t one for his beloved Kentucky Wildcats or even his own.
Richard Tate lost his wife to breast cancer at the end of 2018. The grieving father then turned Thompson, an old friend, to help memorialize his wife on sneakers for his kids.
So Thompson got to work. He took notes written in her Bible, then used scripture to guide his work.
“Their mom loves them. So I sourced the letters from different words, and found the capital M, and O and M. Made it her handwriting. And put it on the straps of this LeBron shoe,” said Thompson.
For the man behind the shoe, what’s most important is helping someone smile, and to make a new memory.
“Our time on this planet is short. If I get to make somebody’s day once, that’s pretty cool,” said Thompson.