A Metal Head That Creates Unreal Handmade Boots…
The Story of DE LA PEÑA BOOTS
What’s up Chris – how are you feeling today?
Hey what up ya’ll! Feelin good, feelin great…. feelin great, feelin good how are you?
You’ve got to tell the world how an OG SoCal Metalhead ended up studying fashion at Cordwainers, London College of Fashion?
In 2005 at the age of 18, I just wanted to get out of South California and see more culture and the way other people live.
I always wanted to go to London. It was the total opposite of Los Angeles. It was grey, it was wet, it was cold, and grim. I was there for 8 years and had some of the best memories of my life.
The English are the kings of the bespoke shoemaking style, where they tailor measure your feet and you create your own custom luxury boot or shoe which they make by hand. These services are acquired by the royal family, artists, businessmen and so on.
I was so fortunate enough to be accepted into the Footwear Program at Cordwainers through London College of Fashion where I did a B.A. in Footwear Design and Product Development.
DE LA PEÑA Boots wanted to create a service where I come to you with my pens, notepad, tape measure.. I trace your feet, and create a mold/last… you give me the design or a particular boot you have in mind, and we make it by hand. We want to make the boots you live for, like none of the rest using the best quality hides, refined patterns, durable stitching, with incredible fit and finishings. Whilist retaining tradition, superior quality and comfort. Bespoke shoemaking with our twist on “Made in America” craftsmanship.
When you are creating a pair of boots these days, what records inspire your creativity?
How did you decide on what style of boots to make?
With the custom stuff, I let the customers do their thing, if they need any assistance or my opinion something I’m gladly there to help them out.
But also on our website we offer some ready to wear designs too.. when I design boots I want them to be functional and built to last.. whether you be at work, or on a date, or at a gig or just traveling world they will be there for you.
Who would you say is your customer? Also, what are the benefits of getting DE LA PEÑA BOOTS over just buying commercially boots?
Our customers come from all different walks of life…the guy at the office, the guy at the gig, or the guy who goes to Versace..
DE LA PEÑA boots will out live a commercially mass produced boot because of the quality of materials we use. We use leather footbeds in our shoes instead of condense paper (essentially this what your foot sits on)… the big brans use paper then cover it with leather. Your feet never quite mold correctly to the shoe… with a leather footbed the shoe molds really nicely to your feet.
When designing we source any type of leather you need. Color, softness, durability.. etc etc and we guarantee the fit.
Give us three musicians that you want to make a pair of boots for and why?
Guccimane cuzz hes just so cool. He has the best come back story of all time. He’s a total inspiration for me just to work harder.
Ryan Garcia, he’s a young boxer coming up through the ranks with a lot of character and has style.. I just have a feeling he’s going to be huge though. He’s so fast and can hit so hard.
Chalino Sanchez. He’s passed now R.I.P. but if I could make boots for him that would be the dream. His music will live forever. His story is so gnarly. The promo photos from the 90s are something else.
Talk to us about how important the Latino metal community is to SoCal?
It’s huge importance to the city of Los Angeles, and some of my best friends are from that scene. Latino culture has been hugely influential in the Los Angeles metal community. And it evident when you look at the music that has been coming out of LA since the 80s,Terrorizer, Sadistic Intent, Slayer.. the list goes on. It helps youth within our community to find a voice and an identity that other music sometimes just doesn’t provide.
What are some of the special techniques and materials you use to construct a pair of DE LA PEÑA BOOTS?
One client had a request to make a boot based on the infamous Vietnam Jungle Boot used by the US Army… The side panels on the design of the boot required us to track down some green thick army canvass.
I had a US army green bag from 1955 dated back to the Korean War so we used that on the boot.
We did a leather stacked heel base with a Cat’s Paw 1960’s style rubber heel.
He was definitely happy with the end result.