Exclusive Interview – Randy the Cobbler

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The grounded work of a cobbler has certainly seen better days than the 2000s. It seems that hardly anyone outside the business world still wears traditional leather shoes, much less has them repaired – and most sneaker collectors simply appear to have too many pairs to ever really wear them down. So it is with some pride that Randy Lucas calls himself „Randy the Cobbler“: The 26-year-old from Tempe, Arizona, comes from a lineage of shoemakers and is taking his trade to the next level. He is a master in working with modern footwear – and has the Instagram pics to prove it.

 

Can you sum up in a few words what it is you do with sneakers and other shoes?

I’d be quicker to say what I don’t do with them! We – our shop is a family business – do everything with footwear, from refurbishment and shoemaking to prototypes and design.

How did you – “cobbler“ by trade – get the idea of working with sneakers?

Clients kept asking for it, and at first I was hesitant. I’d always worked with traditional, hard-bottom footwear made of leather, but once I started with sneakers I never looked back. It did take some time to get used to the synthetic materials, polyurethanes, EVA soles and such.

In general, how long do you work on a pair of shoes?

It all depends on what we are doing with the footwear. Simple modifications like welting or soling can take about a day. Shoemaking can take a couple of days, with prototypes and designs taking months to get to the end result.

Where do you get the ideas for your works, what inspires you?

Ideas come from everything I’ve experienced – the shoe repair business, college courses or trips to the local sneaker shop. Inspiration can come from all the different shoes I see, the clients I meet and talk to, even whatever media I use while working, like radio or TV.

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Are there other customizers or cobblers in footwear that you follow and respect?

My dad, of course – he brought his trade as a shoemaker from Guatemala to the USA 25 years ago and is the main reason why I’m in this line of work.

As for customizers: Dom, The Shoe Surgeon. I like what’s he’s doing and he is the only other person I know who’s doing work like us.

Do you keep track of the sneaker scene in general?

I try but there is just so much going on that it’s hard to keep up. Usually my work and clients keep me updated about releases, styles, colors, trends or materials.

Why does most of your sneaker-related work seem to be inspired by Nike or at least based on Nike soles?

Nike is all I really wear and it seems to be the same way for my clients. They’re familiar with the shoes, the silhouettes and that almighty Swoosh. With the return of hype around Adidas, I’m slowly starting to see new projects incorporating their parts, especially the Boost technology.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-20 um 15.57.09

Why are there hardly any women’s shoes in your IG pictures – is there simply no interest from the ladies to have shoes customized?

I’ve done a handful of projects for women but the sneaker scene does seem to be dominated by guys. It’s interesting because in the actual shoe repair business, it’s mainly women’s footwear.

What has been your favorite pair among your work so far?

That has to be the Pure Boost Moc Hybrid. The project was done in collaboration with Manor Shoes in Phoenix, Arizona. We auctioned it off for a great cause with proceeds going towards Kicks for Kids, benefiting children in need of new shoes. It was a fun and rewarding experience.

Jillionaire from Major Lazer sports your moccasins proudly. Any other celebs in your client list that you could tell us about?

Jillionaire was my first celebrity to reach out about work. It was very exciting to meet him along with fellow Major Lazer member Walshy Fire upon delivering the shoes in person when they came to Arizona. Since then, I’ve had athletes, musicians, designers and influencers reach out. But everything is still in progress, so you’ll have to keep an eye out on the IG.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-20 um 15.55.13

How often do customers approach you with certain ideas – and how many times do you have to politely decline, due to time constraints or because of improbability?

Work and ideas come in on a daily basis and at the moment I’m booked for months. That’s my main constraint, since with footwear just about anything is possible!

Which sneaker would you love to work on that has not been done yet?

I’m a classic Nike fan, so I would love to work on any classic such as the Daybreak, Marathon or Internationalist.

Who would you like to collaborate with – brand, designer or else?

As for brands, it would have to be Nike or Adidas, – just more technology and endless opportunities there to explore. Vibram make a lot of the sole products I use, so being able to work on an official project with them would be incredible as well.

For a designer, it would have to be JBF. I have not worked with him, but I respect what he does and how far he has taken his craft.

Would you like to see some of your ideas picked up and produced by brands for a bigger market?

That’s actually happening, I’m currently working along side some footwear companies for design input and collaborations – very excited about that!

What would you recommend to someone who wants to work with shoes the way you do?

Start with the basics! Everyone wants to skip to the fun stuff but I started with shoe repair. Repairing gets you familiar with shoe construction and what works or doesn’t. It gives you an eye for design as in colors, styles, silhouettes, materials, trends and also introduces you to the machines and tools of the trade.

 

(Interview: Daniel Giebel Photos: Randy Lucas)

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Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-20 um 15.54.55The grounded work of a cobbler has certainly seen better days than the 2000s. It seems that hardly anyone outside the business world still wears traditional leather shoes, much less has them repaired – and most sneaker collectors simply appear to have too many pairs to ever really wear them down. So it is with some pride that Randy Lucas calls himself „Randy the cobbler“: The 26-year-old from Tempe, Arizona, comes from a lineage of shoemakers and is taking his trade to the next level. He is a master in working with modern footwear – and has the Instagram pics to prove it.

 

Can you sum up in a few words what it is you do with sneakers and other shoes?

I’d be quicker to say what I don’t do with them! We – our shop is a family business – do everything with footwear, from refurbishment and shoemaking to prototypes and design.

How did you – “cobbler“ by trade – get the idea of working with sneakers?

Clients kept asking for it, and at first I was hesitant. I’d always worked with traditional, hard-bottom footwear made of leather, but once I started with sneakers I never looked back. It did take some time to get used to the synthetic materials, polyurethanes, EVA soles and such.

In general, how long do you work on a pair of shoes?

It all depends on what we are doing with the footwear. Simple modifications like welting or soling can take about a day. Shoemaking can take a couple of days, with prototypes and designs taking months to get to the end result.

Where do you get the ideas for your works, what inspires you?

Ideas come from everything I’ve experienced – the shoe repair business, college courses or trips to the local sneaker shop. Inspiration can come from all the different shoes I see, the clients I meet and talk to, even whatever media I use while working, like radio or TV.

222 (1 von 1)

Are there other customizers or cobblers in footwear that you follow and respect?

My dad, of course – he brought his trade as a shoemaker from Guatemala to the USA 25 years ago and is the main reason why I’m in this line of work.

As for customizers: Dom, The Shoe Surgeon. I like what’s he’s doing and he is the only other person I know who’s doing work like us.

Do you keep track of the sneaker scene in general?

I try but there is just so much going on that it’s hard to keep up. Usually my work and clients keep me updated about releases, styles, colors, trends or materials.

Why does most of your sneaker-related work seem to be inspired by Nike or at least based on Nike soles?

Nike is all I really wear and it seems to be the same way for my clients. They’re familiar with the shoes, the silhouettes and that almighty Swoosh. With the return of hype around Adidas, I’m slowly starting to see new projects incorporating their parts, especially the Boost technology.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-20 um 15.57.09

Why are there hardly any women’s shoes in your IG pictures – is there simply no interest from the ladies to have shoes customized?

I’ve done a handful of projects for women but the sneaker scene does seem to be dominated by guys. It’s interesting because in the actual shoe repair business, it’s mainly women’s footwear.

What has been your favorite pair among your work so far?

That has to be the Pure Boost Moc Hybrid. The project was done in collaboration with Manor Shoes in Phoenix, Arizona. We auctioned it off for a great cause with proceeds going towards Kicks for Kids, benefiting children in need of new shoes. It was a fun and rewarding experience.

Jillionaire from Major Lazer sports your moccasins proudly. Any other celebs in your client list that you could tell us about?

Jillionaire was my first celebrity to reach out about work. It was very exciting to meet him along with fellow Major Lazer member Walshy Fire upon delivering the shoes in person when they came to Arizona. Since then, I’ve had athletes, musicians, designers and influencers reach out. But everything is still in progress, so you’ll have to keep an eye out on the IG.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-20 um 15.55.13

How often do customers approach you with certain ideas – and how many times do you have to politely decline, due to time constraints or because of improbability?

Work and ideas come in on a daily basis and at the moment I’m booked for months. That’s my main constraint, since with footwear just about anything is possible!

Which sneaker would you love to work on that has not been done yet?

I’m a classic Nike fan, so I would love to work on any classic such as the Daybreak, Marathon or Internationalist.

Who would you like to collaborate with – brand, designer or else?

As for brands, it would have to be Nike or Adidas, – just more technology and endless opportunities there to explore. Vibram make a lot of the sole products I use, so being able to work on an official project with them would be incredible as well.

For a designer, it would have to be JBF. I have not worked with him, but I respect what he does and how far he has taken his craft.

Would you like to see some of your ideas picked up and produced by brands for a bigger market?

That’s actually happening, I’m currently working along side some footwear companies for design input and collaborations – very excited about that!

What would you recommend to someone who wants to work with shoes the way you do?

Start with the basics! Everyone wants to skip to the fun stuff but I started with shoe repair. Repairing gets you familiar with shoe construction and what works or doesn’t. It gives you an eye for design as in colors, styles, silhouettes, materials, trends and also introduces you to the machines and tools of the trade.

 

(Interview: Daniel Giebel Photos: Randy Lucas)

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