Shoes with Soul.
"Why make something that's just ordinary if you can be extraordinary"
Today we shine a spotlight on one of America's most inspiring, self-made luxury footwear designers, Calleen Cordero. Since 1999 she handcrafts her shoes into wearable art, only does limited production and her shoes are made to last a lifetime.
With a dream in her heart Calleen Cordero began working in her basement and when she started out, took a $5,000 loan, had to sell her cars, and refinance her house. She purchases her leather in Italy and makes all her components herself. By hand she produces ergonomic shoes (that can carry you through the whole day) with hand sculpted, hand sanded wooden heels and modeled leather soles. Her passion for well-crafted luxurious shoes began early with a vision to bring the creative art of handmade artisan quality footwear, handbags and accessories back to the United States. She says of herself that her products are a perfect marriage between comfort, beauty and craftsmanship—individual masterpieces, made to last.
Where most American shoe companies have been sending their manufacturing overseas to save costs, Calleen keeps manufacturing locally helping revive the American shoe making industry. With every single shoe being a work of art, inspired by Calleens Mexican heritage, and embellished with hand studded art, a shoe can easily take six weeks to produce.
She values quality over mass production, sustainability over convenience, and natural materials over chemical substitutes and uses California-harvested sustainable alder wood and vegetable-tanned leather. In her factory nearly 40 artisan employees work under one roof to bring Cordero’s designs to life.
• All woods used are from sustainable forests or recycled plywood.
• Most leathers used are vegetable tanned from Italy and chrome free.
• Multiple comfort features in every shoe including padded insoles and/or EVA midsoles.
• Leather soled sandals are hand molded with arch support.
• All linings are leather and hardware is solid brass and solid nickel.
• Every wood heel has been sculpted by free hand.
• All glues used are 80% non toxic to the environment.
Photos: Courtesy of Calleen Cordero