In 1995, we took a leap of faith. Over the course of the next 25 years, we strived to produce the highest quality leather goods without compromising integrity or craftsmanship, while forever refining our process to ensure the most sustainable & eco-friendly product. We look forward to the next 25 years, where we will continue to evolve our eco-friendly artistry, reducing our carbon footprint, and delivering the highest quality, hand-crafted leather goods. Join us on our journey…
With 17k in credit card debt, two young children, and a whole lot of prayer, our family launched Evolutions Footwear in a small office and warehouse space rented from a local church.
On the way to our first trade show, we realized that the brand needed a logo that conveyed our identity in a truly authentic way. Pulling from the original inspiration for the brand, Bedford-Stuyvesant, we felt that boxing gloves represented the tough, rugged nature of the brand.
Initially, we crafted products exclusively for men. We began to notice that the smaller sizes were selling out more rapidly than we could explain— women were purchasing them. Eventually, the demand for women’s shoes became so great that we introduced a women’s wingtip oxford into the line, officially throwing our hats into the ring of women’s footwear.
OUR OWN FACTORY
Having grown up in León, México, our creative director sought to pour back into the community that raised him. Endeavoring to make the highest quality leather goods without compromising integrity or craftsmanship, we opened our family-owned factory in an effort to inspire future generations.
OUR ICONIC FINISHES
Growing tired of the “boring,” average-looking products that had become industry standard, our creative director took his team to the Carpinteria State Beach on a hunch. Together, they threw eight pairs of shoes into the Pacific Ocean, allowing the waves and sand to tumble and churn the shoes. The effects of the salt, sand, and water made the shoes unwearable, but unquestionably unique. Two years later with this initial spark, we unveiled the first of our iconic finishes, introducing washed and wearable shoes into our line.
THE FIRST ACCESSORIES
As the demand for accessories continued to grow, we launched our first line of leather belts. Proving to be successful, we eventually expanded our offering to include: wallets, hats, bags, and other leather goods.
Frustrated with inconsistent and character-lacking “pre-finished” leathers, we began to work with “raw, naked” leathers, using as much of the hide as possible in an effort to reduce waste. While our naked leathers come with natural flaws, each piece is hand-dyed and finished, highlighting these beautiful, natural imperfections.
As our family explored the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market one Sunday morning, a heavy rusted bolt caught our creative director’s eye. Enamored by the multiple layers of rust and color, he purchased the bolt for $3. We took this inspiration back to the factory, ultimately introducing our Rust finish in 2007.
As a family pastime, we loved strolling the beaches of Southern California, collecting the driftwood that had washed up on the shores. Struck by another one of nature’s masterpieces, the unique weathering of the wood inspired our Driftwood finish.
We felt a deep tug at our hearts when the BP Oil Spill disaster struck the Gulf in April of 2010. In an effort to contribute to the relief, we created a collection with our Oil Slick finish. 100% of the profits from the collection were donated to the National Wildlife Foundation, towards relief and clean-up efforts.
While visiting Europe one summer, the smell of freshly baked bread wafted through the air and drew us into a small French bakery on the Swiss border. Enamored and inspired by the unique appearance of the light dusting of flour on the freshly baked loaves of artisan bread, we took this inspiration back to our factory and developed our unique Lux finish, which made its debut in 2011.
Stand Up to Cancer Fundraising
Teaming up with Stand Up to Cancer, we launched a special collection of co-branded leather goods to raise money for the organization. We ultimately donated the majority of the proceeds towards their efforts to raise funds for cancer research that provides the newest, most promising treatments to patients.
With a growing concern for our impact on the planet, we began taking larger strides towards sustainable practices. After finding that the industry-standard leathers contained chromium, formaldehyde, and other harmful chemicals, we set out to create our own proprietary tanning blend. Sourcing from nature, we began using natural ingredients such as tree bark tannins, ensuring our process remains free of these toxic substances.
While our leathers were tested from the very beginning to ensure that they were free of harsh chemicals, in 2015 we took things into our own hands as industry standards changed. We began shipping 100% Vegetable Tanned leathers, with independent testing from SGS, certifying that our leathers will remain Chrome Free & Formaldehyde Free.
Dissatisfied with the quality of our leather upper and lining leathers, which make up close to 60% of the overall material content in our shoes, we proceeded to challenge our team to test the boundaries of our sustainable efforts. With the introduction of natural latex for our footbeds and the move to plant-based, natural dyes for our hand-dyed leathers, we continued to pave the way towards more eco-friendly and sustainable practices.
In the process of constructing our Goodyear Welt, we have always used natural cork, which combines leftover cork and leather shavings with a glue to produce a footbed that naturally molds to the wearer’s foot. After an arduous research process, we figured out a way to further protect both our customers and our workers. We eliminated as many harmful solvents from our shop as we could and transitioned to water-based glues.
In 2014, we began donating shoes to Soles4Souls, an organization that utilizes new or gently worn shoes as a resource for individuals in impoverished countries or affected by natural disasters. In 2016, we headed to Haiti with Soles4Souls to visit villages, hand out shoes, and interact with the community. We were able to see first-hand the heartbreaking conditions of so many, and what a difference a pair of shoes can make.
We have always admired Anna Sui’s design and detail, so when we were presented with the opportunity to work with the designer, we jumped at the chance! In 2017, we launched the first of several collaborations with Anna Sui, featuring intricately hand-tooled designs and retro-inspired psychedelic looks.
Seeing untapped potential for improvement, we introduced XL EXTRALIGHT® sustainable soles to our line. These outsoles are made from re-used industrial waste, do not contain any harmful solvents, and respect environmental needs, reducing waste in landfills. This new technology has allowed us to maintain a lightweight feel without the use of harmful plastics.
Celebrating 25 years! As a family-owned business, we want nothing but the best for future generations. We continue to evolve our sustainable and eco-friendly practices in an effort to protect our natural resources, reduce our carbon footprint, and promote change within the industry. We hope that you take as much pride in enjoying quality, sustainable leather products as we do crafting them!