KNOB NOSTER, Mo. -- An airman at Whiteman Air Force Base has turned a hobby into a big business. He's leaving his mark on some fancy shoes that are gathering worldwide attention.
In his own words, Josh Chesler's first shoe designs were "trash." But Chesler's skills have come a long way in just four years, to the point that this young airman serving at Whiteman has started Chesler Customs.
His creative shoes decorated with leather acrylic paints are popular on social media, and the Nebraska native has sold shoes to several celebrities who have the same fever for footwear.
Chesler's designs are attention-grabbing, and he said the crazy hand-painted designs are his best sellers.
"I've never taken an art class, though. I've always loved painting. It was just my passion," he said.
When Chesler's first successful paint job hit social media, he began to develop a following.
"It's crazy to think a kid who started in Omaha, Nebraska, is making shoes for people out in LA, professional basketball players," he said. "I'm talking to all these celebrities. It's crazy."
His client list includes basketball's notable Ball brothers, as well as popular YouTuber King Imprint and other famous feet who don't mind paying hundreds of dollars for Chesler's work.
"Now, we've got people all over the world that's asking me for shoes," he said. "It definitely keeps me busy, but I love doing it."
D.J. Ferguson is also stationed at Whiteman, and he said he's impressed by Chesler's side hustle.
"His passion and eagerness for it is impressive, and to see where he's taking it. He puts himself out there. He's not afraid to do it. It's good quality," Ferguson said.
When asked what's more important -- the shoe or the art -- Chesler said neither. He values the customer more.
He said his famous customers can buy shoes anywhere, but the fact that they come to him in Knob Noster means the world to him.
See more of Chesler's work on his Instagram page.