SWAPPING GIGS: Learning the art of making custom shoes - WDRB 41 Louisville News

SWAPPING GIGS: Learning the art of making custom shoes

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Louisville, KY (WDRB) -- A Louisville cobbler is on a mission to help ease his customer's pain- a foot at a time. Sterling Riggs swapped gigs with a one of the only true custom shoe makers in the Commonwealth.

For the past 40 years, Alan Kleinman has been making shoes that are not for show but to go. His hands show the miles that his shoes have walked over the years.

He's a part artist, cobbler and custom shoe maker who specializes in hand crafting comfortable shoes for people with extreme foot problems.

Kleinman occasionally gets customers with feet so big that they don't own shoes. He says they come in with socks on and walk wearing a pair of shoes.

His secret to perfection is the way he makes a plaster mold of the foot. He places the customers foot in a glass box and then pours plaster around it leaving and exact replica of the foot. It's a skill he learned from his uncle when he was 15.

Once the mold is cast, the hard work starts. Kleinman builds the shoe around the mold and hand crafts every aspect.

An average pair takes 10 hours to make and the price starts at $600. The shoes he made for the nations tallest man took 20 hours. He gave Sterling a few quick pointers and let me try my hand at being an apprentice.

After a few hours on the job, it was clear that it takes years of practice and extreme skill to do this job.

Kleinman said, "My greatest reward is knowing that my product can truly change lives."

He hopes to pass his passion of making shoes on to the next generation through a new trade school that he's planning to start.

For more information about Kleinman's Living Shoes and the trade school, contact Alan Kleinman at (502) 452-1301.

Kleinman's Living Shoes

3099 Breckenridge Lane #103

Louisville, KY 40220

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