While visiting my family in Argentina as a college freshman, I came across a man named Rafael at a local artisan fair, where he sold women's flats with colorful, intricate textiles. As he told me his story – one of a skilled artisan in a struggling economy – I was inspired to partner with him to sell his shoes in the United States. There began my two-year journey to create PATOS.
Growing up between Argentina and the United States, I realized that the sneaker industry was dominated by European inspiration. Meanwhile, mainstream fashion neglected Latin America's beautiful textiles and exploited its workers.
I never understood why there weren’t cool sneakers accented by these textiles in the US. So, I thought, why not team up with locals to create them, and have an economic impact in the communities we work?
We created a shoe that combines the modern sneaker that we know and love with traditional textiles from Peru. I spent nearly two years working with dozens of artisans across Argentina and Peru to perfect our shoes. Our new collection is 100% made and sourced in Peru.
In a slow, precise process, our shoes are handcrafted using premium materials.
1. Source local raw materials For every pair of shoes we design, we visit dozens of suppliers to find our favorite raw materials.
We work directly with locals in Peru when we source our materials.
2. Get creative The creative phase is an exciting exploration of traditional patterns and modern sneaker styles. We play around with have cool ideas at the dinner table and then run upstairs to try them out. It’s a lot of fun, really.
We compared over 100 patterns, colors, and shoe styles to create El Primero and El PrimeroQ.
3. It's time to cut it Give 'em the blade.
Meet Alex, the man behind the blade – born and raised within minutes of our shop.
The insole, upper, interior, and heel are all hand-carved.
4. Mark it up Using our custom stencil, we mark the shoes with pencil to indicate the lines to sew.
5. Pass it to the sew pros The pieces start to come together at the hands of the sew pros.
6. Hammer the holes Respecting the traditional way of making shoes, we hammer the lace holes with precision.
7. Crank that The holes are reinforced with golden brass eyelets, cranked by hand.
8. Hand-press the last The sewn fabric and textile are wrapped and hand-pressed around the last to help the shoe take form.
9. Smooth out the sole We remove any excess rubber and smooth out the sole to give it the perfect fit.
10. Glue 'em together Artemio starts by gluing the bottom of the last (the blue shoe mold)...
...and follows with the interior of the outsole.
11. Let it fit The last and outsole fit nice and snug.
12. Vacuum seal To give the outsole and fabric a durable relationship, we use a high-pressure vacuum seal.
13. Drip the paint Watching this has to be the most satisfying 4-seconds ever.
(Only women's size 9 and lower have the painted line.)
14. Pop in the PATOS insole The 7mm padded PATOS insole slides in its place.
15. Send the shoes your way There's nothing like seeing the purple PATOS box on your doorstep :)