Colorful sole: Minnesota cobbler rethinks classic footwear
The smell hits first as you descend the short flight of steps into the basement. It’s sharp and overpowering, a mix of rubber and old leather. This is where old shoes go to be reborn.
The basement workshop in Tamas “Zen” Pomazi’s Waconia, Minn., home is filled with shoes: Red Wing work boots, wingtips and loafers overflow the shelf space and sprawl across the floor.
Each aging shoe will go through the same process — Pomazi pulls them apart, then stitches them back together, and finally, outfits the bottom with an eye-popping custom-colored sole.
“I take what is destitute, obsolete and not wearable — and make it wearable,” said Pomazi, 43, whose customers often bring him shoes passed down to them by their fathers or grandfathers.