Small States: Cord Shoes churns out handmade boots with a story behind every pair, $250 giveaway


Update: (2/21 12:05pm): @jayrodesign is our winner – thank you to everyone that entered our contest.

As advances in machinery and technology continue to progress in there modern world, there have been many “deaths” along the way in how our goods are manufactured. Many of the big brands that strive to create identical products over and over again, losing the unique aspect that comes with human interaction during the manufacturing process. Every single stitch must be perfect or the shirt gets tossed. Each cut is exactly the same for every pair of jeans on the rack.

While the precise nature of our evolving technology world is nice, many of the goods that we encounter lack that personal feel. Cord Shoes of Atlanta, Georgia does just the opposite of that. Proprietor Sarah Green, is creating beautiful handmade boots and accessories with skills that she has learned on her own. It’s a story that involves hard work, late hours and a lucky batch of Hurricane Katrina flooded machinery.

Today, we are going to tell you about Cord Shoes.

For Sarah Green, a love of design and creating things by hand has always been a part of her life. From her Grandpa who was a woodworker to her father who chose architecture as his trade, Sarah developed an appreciation for quality goods constructed by people — not machines. Following in her father’s footsteps, Sarah went off to college in pursuit of a degree in architecture. However, after graduation she ran into a dried up job market.

Bouncing between furniture shops in the southeast, she settled in New Orleans when a trip to the mall sparked an idea.

I was in the mall one day, looking at boots and I wondered ‘how do they makes these?’, so I went home and looked it up online. I couldn’t really find much, but my interest was really piqued, so I got some tools and decided to figure it out.

From there, the hobby grew as Sarah spent her days working for others and nights for herself. Finding the correct tools was of most importance as she scoured eBay and Craigslist for authentic shoemaking gear. It wasn’t until she found someone a mile away selling shoemaking tools that things really came together.

I came across a woman, just down the road, that had been trying to sell her husband’s stuff for a year. I found her on Craigslist and those tools really started the process for me. We became friends and when she eventually decided to move back to her home country, offered me all his machinery if I could help pay for her plane ticket. The machines still have the watermarks on them from sitting during Hurricane Katrina. So I loaded them up and brought it all back to my hometown of Atlanta, that really was the start of making this happen.

After spending a year as a full-time apprentice in Pennsylvania, Sarah has ventured off on her own. Over the last year Cord Shoes has enjoyed a lot of local success despite its higher price point. Considering the manufacturing techniques, the quality of the materials and time spent, it’s no surprise that many of her shoes sell for over $500. Taking a process that has become automated is not without its struggles and doing it by hand is a costly investment of time and money.

It’s not to say that everything about Cord Shoes dates back to ancient techniques, by accepting BitCoin Sarah has found some popularity amongst the alternative-commerce crowd. She’s placed orders from the other side of the country following a viral post on Reddit about her open-source money ways.

Ultimately, Cord Shoes continues to evolve, developing and expanding its offerings to find its niche in the crowded footwear market. The company currently makes seven different models of boots and has a full-line of handmade accessories. Wallets, key fobs and a necklace mix-up both the price point and inventory from the more expensive shoes. Sarah admittedly recognizes that $500 is much more than the average shoe buyer is willing to spend:

We realize that the cost of the shoes may be prohibitive for some people, but the accessories give some an entry point to our brand, to see our quality as we build Cord and work our way to a lower price point. We will be introducing new shoes, sandals and some accessories this Spring as well that will provide more options for those that are interested. After making such a technical product by hand, its always so rewarding to hear someone write in and tell us how much they love them.

The quality of the boots and other accessories is clearly evident. We were lucky enough to get our hands on a pair of Mercer Boots from Cord. The quality balanced with the visual appeal of something with such a great backstory makes for a great product. There is a unique feeling to the boots, you know right away that they were made especially for you, not for just anyone. With only 2-3 pairs coming out of the workshop each week, the attention to detail is clear as soon as you open the box. Ultimately, there is a reason people aren’t making shoes of this caliber in the United States anymore, it just isn’t very easy to do.

Additionally, the accessories are well crafted with a nice visual twist between old world craftsmanship and modern design. The sharp edges and mixture of leather and metal make for a nice contrast that complement each other. Either wallet design offers plenty of room for cash or cards, while the key fob is a nice break from traditional metal key rings .

This week, we’ll be giving away a full set of accessories from Cord valued at over $150. Additionally, the lucky winner will have the option of purchasing a handcrafted pair of shoes from Cord at a 20% discount. To enter this giveaway, follow @9to5Toys on Twitter and retweet the article. If Facebook is more your thing, Like us and share this article with your friends. We’ll choose a winner next Saturday. Good luck!

Previous winners:

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