Shop Talk

Zoé Rios

And so that’s when I became the annoying English lady,” says Austin, Texas shoemaker Zoé Rios with a chuckle. A native of Windsor, the town on the Thames where the British royal family’s castle was built in the 11th century, the distinctly unannoying Rios was explaining how she came to be a “self-appointed” apprentice to cowboy bootmaker Greg Carmack at the Uptmor Saddle Shop, located in the Brazos River town of Waco, Texas.

“I studied fashion design at West Thames College in London,” Zoé recounts, “and while I liked the technical side of fashion, I hated the fashion industry.” Fast forward to 2006. Rios had been flying the friendly skies as a Continental Airlines attendant for the previous ten years. “I loved flying,” she recalls, “but I wanted something more creative, more engaging, and I wanted to spend more time with my young child.”

As a runner herself,

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