As far as she can recall, Nancy Benoit has always been a creative but it was only a couple of years ago when she realized that she wanted a career in shoemaking.
“When I told my family that I wanted to create shoes, I learned that my grandfather was actually a shoemaker,” says Benoit. “So what happened is that I found out that my family still has in possession the shoemaking tools that my late grandfather used, which I ended up using up to this day.”
Armed with her grandfather’s equipment, Benoit further studied the art and science of shoemaking until she was able to develop her own “recipe” for making comfortable footwear. In 2009, she formally launched Sole Of Vermont.
Save with the help of a stitching machine, all of Benoit’s shoes are handmade in her shoe studio in Vermont. Her business system works like this: customers can go to Sole Of Vermont’s website and select a style and size that they want. Benoit then proceeds to handcraft their orders, and after a few days, she ships them to their respective addresses.
Among the shoe styles available, the Roe seems just the right sandal for summertime. Made of salmon leather, a pair comes with non-slip soles and orange leather laces, allowing wearers to walk fast without worrying about having a Cinderella-getting-out-of-the-ball moment.
When asked about her staunch commitment to handmade craftsmanship, Benoit says that it’s both practical and personal. “Machines can take up a lot of room and can be hard and pricey to maintain,” she says. “Also, I feel that doing something handmade gives me a better sense of satisfaction.”
Retail: $295 (Roe)
—Eugene Y. Santos