Back our project to help us make our first large batch of sneakers and hire 15+ artisans full-time in Peru!
How it works: Check out our shoes below, click the green button that says "Back This Project", and select the reward level that gets you the products you want. (You can donate more than the reward level if you would like.)
We'll email you a survey when the campaign is complete to ask for your size and color preference.
- The Huffington Post: "Meet the 20-Year-Old Creating the Next TOMS Shoes"
- Buzzfeed: 25 Brands That Actually Help Latin American Artisans Bring Their Designs To Market
- Inc. Magazine: "Inc Magazine's coolest college startups of 2016"
- CNBC: "5 college students who chose business plans over partying"
- MLive: "Ann Arbor man starts handcrafted shoe line to aid Latin American artisans"
- Influencive: "This 20-Year-Old Student is Creating Jobs in Peru with Handcrafted Sneakers"
- The Daily Pennsylvanian: "College junior designs shoes for social impact"
- 34th Street Magazine: "WeissLabs Incubator takes off"
- Philadelphia Magazine: Penn, Drexel Place Finalists in “Coolest Startups” Competition
While visiting my family in Argentina as a college freshman, I came across a man named Rafael at a local artisan fair, where he sold women's flats with colorful, intricate textiles. As he told me his story – one of a skilled artisan in a struggling economy – I was inspired to partner with him to sell his shoes in the United States. There began my two-year journey to create PATOS.
Growing up between Argentina and the United States, I realized that the sneaker industry was dominated by European inspiration. Meanwhile, mainstream fashion neglected Latin America's beautiful textiles and exploited its workers.
I never understood why there weren’t cool sneakers accented by these textiles in the US. So, I thought, why not team up with locals to create them, and have an economic impact in the communities we work?
We created a shoe that combines the modern sneaker that we know and love with traditional textiles from Peru. I spent nearly two years working with dozens of artisans across Argentina and Peru to perfect our shoes. Our new collection is 100% made and sourced in Peru.
Today, we introduce our handcrafted sneakers to Kickstarter.
Our collection is comprised of 2 fresh sneakers formed by the same silhouette – El Primero and El PrimeroQ. Both are available in the same 3 color schemes.
PATOS Drawstring Backpack ($20) This drawstring backpack is made using recycled materials from our shop. It's reversible, with canvas and our brown-leather logo on one side, and the traditional Peruvian textile on the other side. We use our excess laces as the straps. Our drawstring comfortably fits a laptop, shoes, whatever you need!
El Primero – White / Green Heel
El Primero – Black / Blue Heel
El Primero – White / Red Heel
El PrimeroQ – White / Green Heel
El PrimeroQ – Black / Blue Heel
El PrimeroQ – White / Red Heel
The impact of buying a pair of PATOS
Providing full-time jobs for artisans: We employ artisans in impoverished Peruvian villages to handcraft our shoes.
Handcrafted sneakers: Every step of the way, our shoes are made by hand, in an industry where sweatshops are common practice and traditional craftsmanship is difficult to come by.
Promoting Peruvian culture: The traditional textiles on our shoes authentically promote ancient culture from the Andean region.
100% from Peru: Our new line of sneakers is 100% sourced from Peru. The rubber soles, laces, patterns, insoles are all from Peru.
Local economic development: As our business grows, we will invest in improving the efficiency of our operations in Peru. This will help us stay true to our mission to handcraft products while bringing new technology to the impoverished villages we work in.
The process of making our shoes
In a slow, precise process, our shoes are handcrafted using premium materials.
1. Source local raw materials For every pair of shoes we design, we visit dozens of suppliers to find our favorite raw materials.
We work directly with locals in Peru when we source our materials.
2. Get creative The creative phase is an exciting exploration of traditional patterns and modern sneaker styles. We play around with have cool ideas at the dinner table and then run upstairs to try them out. It’s a lot of fun, really.
We compared over 100 patterns, colors, and shoe styles to create El Primero and El PrimeroQ.
3. It's time to cut it Give 'em the blade.
Meet Alex, the man behind the blade – born and raised within minutes of our shop.
The insole, upper, interior, and heel are all hand-carved.
4. Mark it up Using our custom stencil, we mark the shoes with pencil to indicate the lines to sew.
5. Pass it to the sew pros The pieces start to come together at the hands of the sew pros.
6. Hammer the holes Respecting the traditional way of making shoes, we hammer the lace holes with precision.
7. Crank that The holes are reinforced with golden brass eyelets, cranked by hand.
8. Hand-press the last The sewn fabric and textile are wrapped and hand-pressed around the last to help the shoe take form.
9. Smooth out the sole We remove any excess rubber and smooth out the sole to give it the perfect fit.
10. Glue 'em together Artemio starts by gluing the bottom of the last (the blue shoe mold)...
...and follows with the interior of the outsole.
11. Let it fit The last and outsole fit nice and snug.
12. Vacuum seal To give the outsole and fabric a durable relationship, we use a high-pressure vacuum seal.
13. Drip the paint Watching this has to be the most satisfying 4-seconds ever.
(Only women's size 9 and lower have the painted line.)
14. Pop in the PATOS insole The 7mm padded PATOS insole slides in its place.
15. Send the shoes your way There's nothing like seeing the purple PATOS box on your doorstep :)
Our shoes are made in EU sizes. Use our size chart to find which US size you are. If you already know your EU size, select that one.
How PATOS sizes run: PATOS are slightly narrow and run true to size. If you don't have wide feet, select the size that you normally wear.
If you wear a half size: If you wear a half size, and don't have wide feet, round up to the next size. For example, if you have narrow feet and wear US 7.5, your best fit is likely an 8.
If you have wide feet: If you have wide feet, we suggest buying an entire size up. For example, if you typically wear 7, you should probably get an 8.
If you have wide feet and wear a half size: If you have wide feet and wear a half size, you should round up 1.5 sizes. For example, if you wear 7.5 and have wide feet, we suggest ordering size 9.
If you wear a number of different sizes: If, for example, you wear an 7 in some brands and 8 in others and don't know which one to base your size off of, you should probably go with the larger size.
Shipping, exchanges, returns & duties
~ Shipping to the United States is 100% free! ~
Exchanges In the case that you need a different size for your shoes, we'll happily exchange them. To avoid any confusion, we highly encourage you to check our size details above to get the correct size and wear your shoes as soon as possible!
If you're in the US, we'll cover shipping both ways. Due to our tight margins, we can't cover the postage for international exchanges.
Returns If, for whatever reason, you aren't ecstatic with your PATOS, we'll accommodate a return and refund without any difficulty, and cover postage within the US. We're incredibly confident that you'll be far more than satisfied with your PATOS.
International shipping costs For one pair, cost is $25. For two pairs / the all-in-one bundle, it is $45. For the drawstring backpack alone, it is $15.
Duties Please note that you may encounter duties if you are ordering outside of the United States. Because this is quite variable, you will be responsible for covering any duties required by your home country.
*There is a typo on our first reward. I suppose I was nervous to jump in a river 10+ times when I typed it. Kickstarter won't let me change it. Please excuse the error!
Thank you all for supporting us! -Fernando Rojo
Risks and challenges
We have been preparing to launch on Kickstarter for almost two years. This has included fulfilling orders with customers and retail stores, dealing with customs, and making our shoes to perfection. We have only received 5-star reviews from our customers to date.
If we should receive far more funding than our goal, delivery may be take longer than expected. Still, we are obsessively dedicated to impeccable customer service, and will always keep you updated.
While there are always risks at hand, we are completely equipped to fulfill every order efficiently. Our fulfillment will be done through our friendly warehouse in NY.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)