CINCINNATI — The magic happens in former Mount Saint Joseph basketball star Devin Young’s home studio, where he has made custom shoes for numerous Bengals stars.
“When I started getting into Jordan (shoes) and stuff, once I got to high school, the prices for that stuff was way out of my price range… I took some of my old shoes and started painting on them,” Young said.
Sneaker culture is nothing new to the former NCAA big man.
“Sneaker heads and basketball go hand-in-hand, you want to be able to have the best shoes on the court,” Young said.
The only thing that rivals Young’s love for sneakers is his love for the Cincinnati Bengals. Last year, offensive lineman Quinton Spain became a fan of his.
“I was able to put together a pair of Air Forces that he wore before the Chiefs game,” Young said.
With the Bengals spotlight getting larger, so did Young’s: Spain rocked a Devin Young original on his cleats during the Super Bowl.
“It was insane, I remember before the game I was waiting for the pregame pictures, he was wearing them. It was really cool to see,” Young said.
Having painted his way to the top, it was time to stay framed there. Young designed a custom pair to surprise star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
“It was crazy seeing them, I’ve been seeing them on Instagram a lot," Chase said. "It was cool he actually made me a pair, put all of my custom designs on it. My ‘Family Ties Forever’ brand, my ‘Chosen One’ on there. That was really cool, he’s being really creative."
“He was going down the line signing autographs (outside of OTAs), he grabbed the shoe not really thinking about it and I was like ‘woah woah, those are for you.’ And then he got really excited and everything,” Young said.
“I thought they were his, I thought he just wanted me to sign them. He was like, ‘no they are actually for you,’" Chase said.
ROY @Real10jayy__ #Chosen1 #FTF #UNO pic.twitter.com/QwVGSWK1fu— Devin Young (@devin_young21) May 31, 2022
Twitter did its thing, and then it was back to the drawing board for a typical day in Young’s post-basketball life.
He put together a pair for Bengals legend and hall of famer Anthony Muñoz.
“Great job,” Muñoz complimented when receiving the new kicks.
Just like sports, the hardest part is the mental aspect.
“It’s a lot of pressure, the hardest part is coming up with the design,” Young said.
Next, Young was set to work on shoes for Joe Mixon. Five days after finishing the design, he surprised the Bengals star running back with his custom kicks after practice.
“Kicks on fire, Bay area, bet. I like that,” Mixon said
“Can we grab a pic?” Young asked.
“Let’s get one,” Mixon said.
The kid who couldn’t afford the cool shoes, now makes the coolest shoes in the Bengals locker room.
Young's hope is to one day design shoes for the whole team and especially his favorite player, Joe Burrow.