Confessions of a Shoe Whore


purple gogo boots circa late 1960's

In 1970 I walked past a boutique window in the Chalfont-Haddon Hall Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey and fell in love. The object of my desire – mauve suede knee-high lace up boots-rounded-toe, boxy heel, black grommets and laces. Italian, expensive. I could tell the leather was soft as butter. They reminded me of the boots Nancy Sinatra was singing about in “These Boots are Made for Walkin'”. I love that song. I was 8 years old. Sadly our relationship was not meant to be, but my passion for shoes was born.

Since that day I have appreciated shoes as an admirer, customer and collector. I have a wide variety of styles from all sorts of price points. The running theme for me is “bad ass and beautiful”. I spend most of my time in boots, booties or sandals, but I have my share of pumps and slingbacks as well.

Several years ago I decided I’d like to spend the next stage of my life as a shoemaker. Designing and making – yes, MAKING shoes.  I’ve been a creative and entrepreneur all my life. I love to build things so shoes seemed to be a natural next step. I started with strappy sandals made from component parts in 6 hours in London along with a 2-day shoe design seminar. My next stab was a 7-day pump making workshop in Ashland, Oregon where I learned to make almost all of the shoe by hand.  In 2016, I attended a shoe symposium and got the final piece to the puzzle, suppliers of small quantities for small making shops.

My studio is up and running. My materials are plenty. I’ve created prototypes and and samples. AND I’ve finally hit on the style and business model.  I look forward to sharing all things shoe with you as you accompany me on this fantastic journey.



signature style on feet

RoxAnneLava launched June 2017 with this bad ass and beautiful signature mule.Why this mule? I purchased a size 7 (my size) vintage last at the shoe symposium in June. 2016. On a whim, I decided to make myself a pair to practice cement construction skills. I can’t walk anywhere without women & men asking me where I got the shoes. I’m taking that as a sign.

Working with my friend Georgene McKim at ShoeDo, I have been able to acquire the rest of the size run of vintage lasts born February 26, 1988 to complement my size 7. I created samples for fit and style in whole sizes 5-10.  As of September 2017,  I’m able to add a non-vintage size 11 and I’ve acquired additional vintage pair in sizes 6, 8 & 9.

The plan – a limited number of pairs released monthly for online delivery, complemented with  live in-person shoe parties, popups and trunk shows, along with a traveling shoe sale. I’ll have samples for made to order (RL-MTO). You select your size and upper. I create your mules. Each pair is truly unique to you. Or you can choose from a variety of off the rack (RL-OTR) items.

These are small batch shoes meaning the materials available may vary from shoe to shoe. After all, leather is skin and just like our skin varies so do hides. I celebrate imperfections and often will select a hide to specifically use imperfections as a design detail. Each hide is different. I do my best to maintain a similar size/weight to the sole, heel and insole leathers.