I have to admit, I had never heard about Bucketfeet before I received an invitation to their store opening. I get invited to quite a few events, but there was something intriguing about this brand. I discovered that it specialized in artist-designed footwear, which I loved because this made it wearable art. There is something so cool about this–you get to help out emerging artists because they actually receive a portion of the profits made from their designs. And you get to wear something cool and unique that standouts and is super comfortable.
Bucketfeet was founded in 2011 by Raaja Nemani and Aaron Firestein and is headquartered in Chicago, IL. Raaja Nemani and Aaron Firestein first met in 2008, while volunteering in the favelas of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Nemani had recently quit his job in finance to travel the world for one year, while Firestein, a California native, had gone there to study Spanish after graduating from the University of Oregon in 2007. The two became friends, and upon Raaja’s departure from Buenos Aires, Aaron sold him a pair of shoes on which he had drawn an artistic design. Raaja continued his year-long journey and cites the shoes as an easy conversation starter; he says people from all over the world would comment on their unique design and that several friendships were sparked from these initial conversations.
Aaron had been drawing on canvas sneakers since his college years. His designs had garnered the attention of his classmates, who began offering to buy his hand-designed shoes. Aaron’s friends at the University of Oregon had nicknamed him “Bucket,” so he began calling his creations “BucketFeet.” This is the inspiration for the name of the company he founded with Raaja Nemani years later. After Raaja had completed his travels, he sent Aaron a Facebook message asking if he would be willing to move to Chicago and create a business around the idea of artist-designed sneakers. Aaron agreed, and the two moved to Chicago in 2010 and officially launched the business in 2011.
I think this is such a cool story, because it made something common, like a pair of sneakers into a canvas for art. This not only makes the shoes look amazing, but it gives it a soul. Someone’s work of art is imprinted in each shoe which makes it unique and special. BucketFeet states its mission is to connect people around the world through art, and the company collaborates with painters, designers, illustrators, and more to create each shoe design. The business aims to grant the emerging artists in its network, which includes 12,000 people from over 100 countries, exposure on a global scale. BucketFeet purchases each artists’ work upfront, and also pays a royalty for each shoe sold back to the artist who originally designed them.
Bucketfeet believes art is for everyone! Now in Manila at Glorietta 2, Alabang Town Center, Trinoma and U.P. Town Center.