Designer Leila Bensarghin of Lei Lab Crystals gives PEOPLE the details behind the nearly year-long process behind the couple’s kicks — from the 18K-gold-plated lace charms to the custom shoe boxes
A.L.L PIX/SplashNews.com; @LeiLabCrystals
A.L.L PIX/SplashNews.com; @LeiLabCrystals
Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens made sure they walked into their new life as marrieds with some impressive shoewear.
On Saturday, the Olympic gymnast, 26, and football star, 27, said their “I dos” for the second time during a destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas.
Along with the four gowns Biles selected for the couple’s weekend-long celebrations, she also ordered a comfy-yet-nonetheless glamorous option for herself and Owens — coordinating bride-and-groom Nike sneakers decked out with tons of bling!
That’s when Leila Bensarghin, owner of online shoewear customization shop Lei Lab Crystals, was called to wedding-wardrobe duty, and she’s giving PEOPLE the exclusive details behind the special collaboration.
Biles reached out to the Baltimore-based designer in April last year (only a couple of months after announcing her engagement to the football player) and the two worked together on the “crisp and classy” shoe designs throughout summer until they were finalized last month.
Bensarghin says that Biles had a vision from the start. Not only did she want the sneakers to match her gold-and-Champagne wedding color palette, but she also asked for crystal lettering and a nod to her and Owens’ wedding date. The canvas: Nike Air Force One Lows.
“Simone requested incorporating pearls into our initial gold Swarovski crystal design. So, I mocked up a gold and pearl Nike swoosh and we fell in LOVE with how the two complemented one another,” Bensarghin says.
The final look featured gold crystals along the seam lines and pearls filling in the swoosh motif, toe caps and heel tabs. Owens’ set was also made with gold Swarovski crystals decorated on the same part of the shoe. The pearl and gold accents were added to the toe box last-minute.
Bensarghin further explains that both pairs were customized with the last name “Owens” on one heel and their wedding date on the other, both outlined with crystals. The two details were also incorporated into the custom-made 18K gold-plated lace locks.
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Related:Simone Biles Reveals Where She Got Her Dress for Her Courthouse Wedding — and It’s Only $119!
To further give the pieces an “elevated” look, Bensarghin decided to weave in luxe laces — satin ribbon for Biles and leather for Owens.
But the details didn’t stop on the outside of the shoes. “As we’ve seen with other features of her wedding, Simone cares about details. So I personalized every part of the shoe — including some hidden customizations inside only visible to Simone and Jonathan. They also received custom display shoe boxes,” notes Bensarghin.
Biles was over the moon about the final results. “‘Obsessed is an understatement!'” which is the best compliment ever, ” Bensarghin tells PEOPLE of Biles’ reaction.
Although this was Bensarghin’s first time working with the medal-winning gymnast, she tells PEOPLE that Biles was “extremely kind” and had full faith in her creative process, which, in this case, took 60 hours “from design to the finished product” for both pairs of shoes.
She adds: “It was an honor designing for Simone and Jonathan.”
Related:Simone Biles Shares All the Details of Her ‘Magical’ Mexico Wedding — See the Photos!
Related: Simone Biles Wore 4 Different Bridal Gowns for Her Wedding Weekend with Jonathan Owens
The pair’s Mexico ceremony saw Biles walk down the aisle in a custom Galia Lahav GIMAYA dress that she added a slit to (done to make her appear taller she told Vogue). Owens stood at the altar wearing a classic tan-colored suit and bowtie.
Biles and Owens wed for the first time last month at a courthouse, the intimate occasion scheduled out of necessity.
“We had to get married ‘legally’ in the U.S. — since our wedding will be a destination wedding. We will be having a wedding in a couple of weeks 🤍,” Biles shared on Instagram.
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American artistic gymnast (born 1997)
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