Photo by @majorwavez
Ruben Barraza ( @majorwavez
) was working in retail and could never escape one burning question that customers kept asking him: “Where are your shoes from?” The answer? He makes them himself. Eventually, sales from his bold and colorful shoe designs grew more profitable than his full-time job, so Ruben decided to formally treat it like the business it had become. “From working retail, I knew that roses were going to trend a long time ago. And after that, I knew flames were going to trend. I’ve kind of become my own buyer,” says Ruben, who lives in San Jose, California.
Donning the samples that he makes, Ruben can go almost two weeks without wearing the same pair of custom kicks twice. He’s fulfilled a few celebrity orders, and learned the unique artistic challenges of having a shoe be your canvas. “Maybe butterflies look really good on a size 9 shoe. But then I get an order from a person who wants it for their kid who’s a 3 1/2, and the butterflies look too big on that,” explains Ruben. “And picking colors is tough, too. You can’t just throw any colors together.”
Check out our Instagram story to see how Ruben makes his custom kicks. 👟