FrontRunners: Fast-Track Footwear

  • William Kissel

With their leather flame patches and contrasting cobra and crocodile skins, George Esquivel’s custom shoes have always been a bit racier than the average pair of brogues or bluchers. Now that he has teamed with the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, the California cobbler is shifting his collection into high gear with a series of what he is calling coach-built shoes that are inspired by the museum’s automotive treasures.

The first pair to roll off Esquivel’s hand-assembly line this fall was designed to complement the museum’s $2 million 1939 red Bugatti 57C, which was a wedding gift for the Shah of Iran. Another pair was patterned after the legendary Hirohata Merc, the 1951 Mercury created by world-famous car customizer George Barris. And Petersen Museum co-chairman Bruce Meyer commissioned a pair to complement his yellow-and-black 1932 High Boy Hot Rod. 

Esquivel shoes are available by appointment through the Petersen museum (323.964.6324) or directly through Esquivel (714.518.5352). In addition to drawing on the museum’s collection, Esquivel can also custom design a pair of shoes, at of cost of $700 to $3,500, to convey the spirit of your favorite automobile. The idea is “to give car owners a direct link, to mirror the strength and beauty inherent in their vehicle,” says the 31-year-old shoemaker, who spends an hour fitting the shoes and about six weeks making them. “We try to capture the emotion of an individual owner while representing the physical attributes of his or her car, both inside and out.”

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