Here's a great story about a young architect-turned-shoemaker who began a shoe label called ZoFA and then opened an atelier in downtown Riga, Latvia. Of course, the best part is that all ZoFA shoes are handmade on site by specially trained artisans.
Elīna Dobele is the practicing architect who created ZoFa to make shoes with a balance between good design and comfort: "As an architect, when designing shoes, I search for the beauty of function; a different language of form and a sustainable process of whole production.”
This handsome boot (below) combines leather with lots of hand woven wool to keep your legs warm.
This gorgeous men's shoes below are made without traditional laces or zippers, only a string for an enclosure. This is to make getting in and out of the shoe easy so men don't need to fuss with laces, etc.
The funky Captured Beaks (below) are unisex, even though they look like they could be men's shoes.
What I like best about her work is how she combines leather with a softer, pliable material making up the main part of the boot or shoe that creates a two-tone effect, like in these lovely boots.
Here's Dobele's very cool atelier in Riga, where you can even have your shoes repaired and see how ZoFA shoes are made.
I think this story is appealing and inspirational - it's about someone having a passion for making artful yet functional shoes and then bringing her inner voice alive in a creative, enterprising way, all the while appyling her professional training to her newfound passion.