A CUSTOM shoe artist who set up his business during the Covid-19 lockdown has seen it 'flourish' - and he has now become the trusted boot designer for Wrexham AFC's stars.

John White set up 'Zebra Customs' mid-pandemic as a way of 'keeping busy'.

The 26-year-old says the business has 'flourished' ever since and it has now seen him become the go-to man for boot designs for Wrexham AFC stars.

Among his latest hand-painted designs were the ones he made for star striker Paul Mullin - whose son was diagnosed with Autism recently.

Those pair of boots are expected to be worn in today's huge FA Cup fourth round clash against Sheffield United.

As are the ones John gave to another Wrexham star - Ben Tozer - this week. Those unique Nikes feature his children's names (Felicity and Hugo) and face expertly painted onto them.

READ MORE: 'David meets Goliath' Rob and Ryan's spine-tingling preview of Wrexham's FA Cup clash

Speaking to the Leader about Zebra Customs, John said: "I started up the business during lockdown as a way of keeping busy/trying something new and it’s just flourished into what it is today.

"The reason for starting came from a conversation I had with my former college tutor and good friend. He asked me 'Where are you going in life, what is it you want to do? Why don’t you do something with art, or sell trainers or something?' And I put the two together and got what we have today!"

"The first pair of boots I designed were pretty special, Mulls (Paul Mullin) had spoken with my dad Michael who does joinery (White and Williams Joinery) work over at the Racecourse about wanting a design on his boots for the FA TROPHY FINAL and then we got in contact. With that came the Paw Patrol design dedicated to his son."

The Leader:

PIC: A closer look at the boots Zebra Customs have made for Ben Tozer for the FA Cup match.

As well as Mullin and Tozer, John has also created designs for the likes of fellow Wrexham AFC man Ollie Palmer and UFC Fighters Tai Tuivasa and Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson.

He has even designed a special pair of Adidas for Wrexham AFC co-chairman Rob McElhenney which features a Philadelphia Eagles and Wrexham mash-up in honour of Rob's two true loves.

Ahead of today's match v Sheffield United, John took to Twitter to joke that he would be 'making his FA Cup debut (sort of)' as Mullin and Tozer take to the field wearing his designs. 

Asked about Wrexham AFC, John said: "I’m a Rangers fan first and foremost, but with my recent interactions with the players and staff at the club I’m finding myself growing attached to them for sure.

"I don’t like to jump on the “bandwagon” as I feel bad for the diehard fans that have been through it all. My dad used to take me to games when I was around 12/13.

"I enjoyed going at that time, but I stopped going as I got older and didn’t really go again until now. My favourite player as a kid was Stevie Evans, because he was my dad's mate and I used to see him a lot outside of footy.

"I’m really excited for the FA Cup game, firstly because I think the atmosphere will be incredible.

"Secondly, it will be amazing to see my work being worn again in front of thousands of people, and to be televised to hundreds of thousands more.

"I can’t thank the lads at Wrexham enough for their continued support with my work, special shout-out to Paul (Mullin), he helped start this part of the journey and he’s continuing to help my brand grow.

"And a huge shoutout to my dad Michael too - this wouldn’t have really happened without him. My goal for this year is to sort a pair for a Rangers player and hopefully a Premier League so I can expand my horizons further."