Shoe-Making in Argentina: My First Handmade Shoes

by julespetra

I had an amazing experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I learned the art of Shoe-making. It was such a rewarding experience that I hope to continue designing my own shoes. My teacher, Natalia (a super sweet-heart!) studied shoe-making in a university in Buenos Aires, where she grew up. She started with the idea of having her own shop someday. She told me stories about the markets where she used to sell her hand-made shoes, the studio she worked from, and the people she met. Realizing that starting a business was not as exciting as she thought, she chose to teach instead of having her own business. Although I would have bought any of her darling designs, I’m glad I had her for a teacher.

Shoe-making is not as rare an art form in Argentina as it is here in the US. There are shoe-makers on every corner, an entire neighborhood dedicated to the craft, and everyone knows someone who sells or makes hand-made shoes. Of course, not all of them are beautiful, or stylish, but some are simply stunning.

So here I am, back in New York (I still can’t believe it!). I’ve started the quest for the perfect shoe lasts, leathers, soles, and have even gone so far as to debate certain materials- rubber vs leather soles, fabric vs leather, goat vs cow hide, plastic lasts vs wooden lasts… the list could go on forever.

In a perfect world, I would have a tiny studio to work from in the west village, a couple stylish dudes or dudettes insanely excited to work and learn from me, and the most gorgeously designed web-site ever seen by the human eye. A girl can dream right?

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