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“There are not that many U.S. custom shoemakers. But we do exist! . . . I think there is a resurgence and interest in quality, custom shoes and an interest in making shoes as a craft or a trade.”
— Amara Hark-Weber, Hark-Weber Handmade Shoes

In our modern era of mass-manufactured, big-brand footwear, a person’s desire for a pair of new shoes can be quickly satisfied. Does this mean that the curtain is falling forever on the one-of-a-kind, handcrafted shoe?

For an answer, take a look at the masterful, custom footwear being made, one at a time, by Amara Hark-Weber, a leather-worker who seems to inhabit a rare planet in the shoemaking universe. Her enterprise, Hark-Weber Handmade Shoes of St. Paul, Minnesota, boldly goes where few custom shoemakers have gone before.

Her business motto? “Never the same shoe twice.”

The footwear styles she creates – many of which offer daring color combos and delightfully risky patterns and shapes – are clearly high-powered, far-out creations. “I try to take traditional footwear concepts and give them a more modern color palette and play with texture.

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