Posts Tagged sandal maker

Girls Night Out with Barbara Shaum, the East Village antique.

Barbara Shaum, now 81 years old, has been hand crafting custom fit leather sandals and belt in East Village for her entire life. She was one of first females allowed and served at McSorley’s Bar in 1970, and still is a very much active out-going girl^^

With two girls from Japan to promote Sumi Jo’s upcoming Concert at Carnegie Hall in November, we all chatted and gossiped subjects in girls’ interest while sitting outside of Nomad restaurant in East Village.

She claimed herself as the best ‘Barbara-cue’ when I offered to hang out at one of best Korean ‘barbecue’ restaurants together. Alright, she is more of ‘Barbara-cute’ to me^^


The sandal maker Barbara Shaum prefers to focus on her craft, not changing trends. (“So gladiator sandals are popular again?” she asked recently, only moderately curious.) Since opening her business in 1954, her technique has stayed pretty much the same. Customers still choose from about 30 classic styles and an assortment of skins; their feet are measured, patterns are drawn; a couple weeks later, there’s a fitting.

The age-old craft was taught to her by Menalkas Duncan, who learned it while visiting Greece with his aunt, Isadora. “I’m not really fashion-fashion,” Ms. Shaum, 79, said as an employee fielded a call from a Vogue editor. “I’m more traditional.”

Her sandals take four weeks to make (order now and have them by Memorial Day) and cost from $300 to $600 — a good deal, given their shelf life. “A woman came in here the other day who had her sandals for 30 years!” Ms. Shaum said, herself looking a little surprised.

Barbara Shaum, 60 East 4th Street; (212) 254-4250. Open Wednesday through Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m.

The New York Times

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