“I wanted to create something that is both stylish and sustainable,” says Velez, noting that each person involved in making his pieces is paid a living wage, and the sneakers, manufactured in Italy, are made with a combination of easy-on-the-environment vegetable-tanned leather, Italian nubuck and biodegradable outsoles.
Velez, who studied shoemaking at Port Townsend’s ShoeSchool and took industrial sewing classes at Seattle Central Community College, is a fan of sporty sneakers found on the basketball court. His sneaks aren’t cheap (they start at about $295 a pair), but they are eye-catching—notice the clean urban design, featuring minimalist details and a sleek sole that contours toward the toe. And isn’t feeling good about looking good worth a little extra?
Photo by Victoria Kovios