For those of us with wide feet, finding a shoe that fits is a constant challenge. Adelante, a company offering handcrafted, made-to-order leather shoes is making things a little easier. The company works with Guatemalan craftsmen and women, paying them a wage that allows them and their families to live well while creating high-quality footwear.
The Adelante Story
Adelante Founder Peter Sacco spent years visiting and living in Latin America, where he saw first hand the poverty and social inequality in countries like Mexico and Guatemala. After working for a nonprofit that built stoves for indigenous women in Guatemala and interning for the State Department in Mexico City, Sacco grew impatient with the slow pace of growth and progress in the region and wanted to do more.
He decided to create a for-profit business that would be a force for good, paying their Guatemala-based workers above what is known as “The Living Well Line” – a social impact methodology that is used to define the relative cost of living well in a given community anywhere in the world.
According to 2020 article by Forbes, Adelante’s craftspeople make more than double their market rate.
Since Adelante’s products are made-to-order, the company can craft shoes that accommodate any size foot, in a variety of colors and styles. Choose from the selection of shoes, boots, and moccasins, then share your size. Not sure what size you wear? Use Adelante’s size quiz to get the right fit for you. You’ll find sizes to 17 and EEEEE width in all of their shoes.
There’s even a way for you to share any special requirements you might have, such as orthotics, that will be taken into consideration when your shoes are made.
Once you’ve placed your order, you’ll receive an email introducing you to the person who will actually be making your shoes. Adelante let me make a pair of shoes to better understand the process, and I was connected via email with Selvin, a second-generation shoemaker with 23 years of experience based in Pastores, Guatemala. The email shared a bio and photo of Selvin, as well as a link to a video interview with him. He talks about his experience making shoes, working with Adelante, his three children, and his love of soccer. Videos like these are a great way to connect with and humanize the people making the products you’ll (hopefully) use every day, something many of us don’t think much about.
From there, customers receive regular updates on the progress of their shoe order, as well as an invitation to watch the latest monthly livestream, including a virtual tour of the shop and a look at the Adelante’s craftsmen during their regular morning meeting.
The Final Result
I ordered the Adelante Havana Boot in EEEE width. In less than a week, the boot arrived from Guatemala to my doorstep. I’ve grown used to having to order a longer shoe to accommodate the width of my foot, but since this boot was custom made for me, it fits perfectly. There’s no discomfort in the toes and no issue with my foot pouring over the sole. I put the Havana to the test soon after receiving them, by wearing them all day long during a (safe and socially distanced) family visit. After a long walk and a full day of wear, my feet still felt comfortable and supported. An added bonus? These boots look good.
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