The design fused a Classic Fringe Softsole upper to the outsole of a Nike Air Huarache to create a truly unique Moccasin Hybrid. What came next was a media frenzy surrounding this unique hybrid and was soon followed by requests from around the world. Today meet Randy Lucas aka Randy the Cobbler and go behind-the-scenes in how this sneaker hybrid came to be.
Tell us about your background.
My name is Randy Lucas and I'm a third generation, 26 year old cobbler from Tempe, Arizona. I've been working in the trade for the past 10 years and truly love the aspect of making footwear into unique pieces of wearable art.
How long have you been customizing shoes and why is it important to you?
I've been repairing shoes at my family’s brick and mortar shop, Broadway Shoe Repair, since I was 16 years old but just recently, in the past two years, started to customize/modify footwear.
In a sense, the repair aspect slowly started preparing me for what I'm doing now and custom footwear has now become a full time job.
The craft of custom footwear is slowing dying out and it's very important to me that hand made work stays alive and relevant. Many local shops here are closing up from lack of business and interest in shoe repair. Doing what I do helps to bring attention back to the trade and hopefully interest in handmade customized footwear.
What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
I enjoy this line of work. The smell of leather, the fast paced environment, the unique clientele and of course the crazy awesome ideas that come along with them. It's a pretty cool feeling to collaborate and bring my client's ideas to life.
Describe your creative process. Where do you find inspiration?
The creative process varies from project to project. Some need special attention and come with blueprints while others are just free handed.
It all starts with what the client wants to create, the wow factor, the design aspect, the functionally, etc. I tend to get my inspiration from there. I'll get an idea of what they are looking for, what the footwear will be mainly used for and the style of the client.
Every design can be a unique piece of art so I make sure to put quality over quantity and mainly concentrate on one-of-a-kind projects.
Where did you get the idea to fuse the Minnetonka Classic Fringe Boot with the sole of the Nike Air Huarache?
The idea came from a long time follower of my work, Keith Andrews, a graphic designer from Tennessee who had done a photoshop rendering of this style a couple years back. He always loved the silhouettes of both the Minnetonka Moccasin and the Nike Huarache so he contacted me to see if the combination could be done while keeping a natural look.
At the time I did have a long waiting list for a number of projects I was working on but was so intrigued in seeing how this would turn out, so I worked overtime to make this moccasin hybrid a reality.
Overall I was very satisfied with the results. This has now lead to my very first small production line of 25 that will be going all over the world.
What’s your favorite part of starting a new project?
Trying to top the previous project. New ideas, pushing the limits, doing something not many have seen before, all while bringing the craft of a cobbler back into awareness.
Congrats to Ed N. of Colorado who won a custom pair of Classic Fringe Hybrids from Randy the Cobbler and Minnetonka! Thank you to everyone who entered!
Photo Credit: @instavivi_