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Local shoe store promotes inclusivity through customized shoes for people with foot irregularities

By Melanie Uson Published Sep 07, 2023 9:42 pm

One of the best ways to look good and feel good is an outfit that best suits you, including a nice pair of shoes. This local shoe store fulfills the dream of its customers by making them customized shoes, handmade especially for those with foot irregularities. 

33-year-old Abby Medina, owner of Shoe Room, shared with PhilSTAR L!fe how she managed to thrive in her business of 12 years, and now making way for inclusivity by making customized shoes.  

Her business went viral in August after she shared a custom shoe made for her client who has a foot deformity due to a medical condition. 

“Today, we made someone happy. He was able to wear comfortable shoes again. We hope we made you happy, Sir Nick! May you have good and happy memories with your shoes,” she wrote in the post. 

“May foot deformity po siya due to gout. 15 years po siyang hindi nakapag shoes kasi wala kasya na shoes sa kanyang mga paa,” she told L!fe.

Customized shoes for her client who had a foot deformity due to gout.
This was his first time wearing shoes after 15 years.

Passion for creating shoes beyond fashion

Abby started her business way back 2011, after graduating from college. It was inspired by her passion for making shoes, which started when she was young.

“Nakita ko siya since bata pa ako, lumaki ako sa gawaan namin talaga,” she said. Shoe Room primarily focused on making ballet flats before expanding to school shoes and sandals. 

She shared with L!fe that their custom shoe services were initially offered for their friends only, until they had their first client who had foot deformity due to polio.  

“It was in 2017 na may nagpunta sa factory namin na polio victim siya, ‘yung bata [galing] probinsya, nabu-bully siya kasi hindi siya pantay maglakad,” she said.

What Abby didn't know was that the incident would later lead them to their business' true calling. 

After handing their first pair of customized shoes to the customer, Abby's late dad and mentor Kiko Medina, who is also a shoemaker, got featured in an advertisement for a vitamin brand.

With the exposure, Abby shared that many people with foot irregularities came to them to order their own shoes, including the tallest man in the Philippines.  

Owner Abby Medina and her client, Nick Pallera.

She said that they are open to all kinds of customization, as long as it is achievable. 

The process begins with assessing the customer's medical condition online via chat. Next comes the actual fitting, to be followed by the actual making of the shoe. Abby said crafting the pair takes six to eight weeks. 

The cost of the service starts at P10,000. Abby acknowledges that not all customers are financially capable of availing the service, so they also offer doing adjustments to the client’s existing shoe, which is priced at a minimum of P1,500.

She added that they usually advise clients to have the customized shoe made from leather material instead of synthetic, as it will last for a longer time. 

Her client's customized leather shoes.

Abby can stick to selling her ballet flats, but when her team realized that there are many people who would want to have their own custom-made shoes due to their medical condition, Abby decided to officially make it one of their services this 2023, highlighting their advocacy for inclusivity. 

“Gusto ko rin kasing makatulong lalo sa mga polio victims na mas maiksi talaga yung isang leg, or sa mga inborn na [may same condition],” she said. 

Above all, Abby’s motivation to continue the business’ advocacy one step at a time is her late father, who she described as someone who was "very thoughtful," even creating a custom shoe at a very cheap price to cater to his customer’s needs. 

“Isa rin sa mga promise ko sa dad ko, na iko-continue ko yung legacy niya,” she said.