New shop at Pike Place Market features old craft of bespoke shoemaking

Leolo specializes in handmade, made-to-order shoes. # k5evening

SEATTLE – A new outlet at Pike Place Market offers a centuries-old service: custom shoes.

Leanne Corcoran owns and operates Leolo, a small studio where she creates custom shoes.

“It’s a lost art,” she says, “I’m a ‘connector’. But I just say ‘shoemaker.’

The centuries-old skill still exists in some European countries and is common in Japan, but trade is quite rare in the United States.

Leolo shoes are Oxfords, Wingtips and Derbys and are designed to last a lifetime.

“A shoe says a lot about a person,” says Corcoran.

It was a painstaking process, requiring more than 220 steps and 40 hours of labor for each pair.

Feet are measured accurately, down to the millimeter. The customer chooses the style, pattern and color and Corcoran pairs it to order – a process that can be easily changed.

“If I misplace a hole, if we sew something wrong, it goes back to the drawing board,” she says. “Go back to cutting off another top and start over from square one.”

But the challenge – and the result – is the realization of a dream.

Corcoran has an art degree and worked for many years as an interior designer. But deep inside, she felt another calling.

“Even though I love that job, it doesn’t fill my heart,” she said. “I just thought, ‘Okay, I’m almost 50 and if I want to make shoes, I need to wear shoes’.

She spent two intensive weeks learning the craft and making her first pair at the age of 47. She says the process brought together all of her passions: working with hands, designing, creating and solving problems. vision problems as well as working with people.

“It’s empowering because I feel like I’ve finally glorified myself and what I really want to do and what I really want to be,” she said.

Bespoke Leolo shoes range in price from $800-$1200, depending on the wishes of the client.

The storefront is located at 4035 Cascadia Ave. S., on the west side of Pike Place Market.

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