Noah Knows Shoes

When I first heard about Noah Molina’s internship, I was not sure what to think. I had all these preconceived notions of what his experience must be like. My initial thought was, “They must be having him do clerical work. He cannot possibly be MAKING shoes.” It is not that I believed Noah was not capable of learning, or that he was not deserving of such an experience. I just figured the mentor would not give Noah such an opportunity. I was wrong!

Benjamin’s Shoes is located in the R Street Art District, a pretty cool spot that is fairly new to Sacramento. It is a shoe store that makes custom shoes. You can either go into the shop and have your feet measured so as to have the shoes made to fit your feet, or you can order online. The shop is pretty big, and completely open for the public to see. When you walk in, you will see a shoemaker at work. This is something that I do not see often. Actually, this is something I had never seen until I visited Noah.

When I arrived at Benjamin’s Shoes, I saw Noah at a table hammering little tiny nails into the insoles of a pair of custom shoes. It was as if I was taken back in time to some quiet little village, where a shoemaker was busy at work. I kid you not! I don’t know if I am the only one, but I had never seen this done before. Once Noah was able to take a quick break – when I interrupted him, rather – he began showing me the work he has been doing. To my surprise, Noah has been doing everything, with the exception of sewing and working the machine (because of the blades). When it comes to making shoes for clients, Noah is involved from start to finish: makes pattern pieces, liners, insoles, soles, sketches, and traces and cuts. When I asked him what made him think of such an internship, his response was, “Shoes are my life! This is what I want to do.”

In addition to working on shoes for clients, Noah has been working on a personal project of his own. He is making a pair of custom shoes to fit his own feet. For this project, he was asked by his mentor to take the lead and come up with his own shoe design. Noah worked on a mockup sketch for his product, picked out the leather, and has been working on bringing the shoe to life. He is in charge, “from creativity to actual show.” The only thing he will not do is sew and glue. I was curious as to why he was not allowed to sew. Noah explained that when you make holes in leather, there is no fixing any mistakes. This is why they have someone who has mastered this craft do all the sewing.

At the end of the visit, I left knowing that Noah Molina is making shoes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. What an accomplishment! Noah is learning a real skill that has set him apart from all other people who say, “Shoes are my life,” simply because they own a bunch of shoes (ehem, me for instance). I do love shoes. I sold shoes while I was a college student. But make shoes? That I cannot do. I will leave that to the professionals.

Thank you, Noah! I enjoyed the visit. I hope you remember me, and all of your Met Sac teachers, when you become a famous shoe designer.

One thought on “Noah Knows Shoes

  1. Purpletyc says:

    This is nice! I need to drop by to look at their shoes. My son really likes shoes too and to might be able to make one to fit his feet correctly would be nice. great Job Noah!

    Like

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