We know what you’re thinking: how did a brand new Canadian made to measure shoe company come to make custom cheerleading boots for such a niche—and public—sport in the US? It all started with a Google search for “custom boots” and a simple email—self-described as a “weird request”—from Keely Fimbres, director of special events at the St. Louis Rams, asking if making boots for a cheerleading squad was a possibility at Poppy Barley. Apparently, it was. Almost immediately, images of kicking, jumping, twirling, knee-high white boots—made famous by cheerleaders all across North America—began floated around in our heads.
Ready, OKAY! Over a course of six months (and now, regularly), we worked with the Poppy Barley studio in León to make custom cheerleading boots for two NFL cheerleading teams—the St. Louis Rams and the Oakland Raiderettes.
Laura, our Mexico Operations Manager, visited 18 tanneries in two days in search of the right type of leather (one with a plastic coating, similar to the material used to make sneakers), so that the grass wouldn’t stain the boots. Lupita, our Studio Manager, digitized our lasts so that our lasts, insoles, and soles could all be made at the same time, rather than sequentially, which is the typical process. Jeanette, a manager with the Raiderettes, took a measuring tape on-location at their bikini shoot so that she could measure calves before each cheerleader’s photo session. One of the biggest highlights from the experience was Keely’s visit to Edmonton from St. Louis, Missouri in June. Keely is one of the warmest people we have been privileged to work with. While the weather did not cooperate (a hailstorm and tornado alert!) we took advantage of Edmonton’s great local restaurants like The Marc, Corso 32 and Tres Carnales, for some amazing dining. (For the record, we did not take her to West Edmonton Mall.) Naturally, we decided to work off all that food by trying desperately to be cheerleaders. Keely took us through a Rams dance routine that the girls have to learn at tryouts. As you’ll see from the shaky video below, we are mostly a group of runners and not used to moving that way—with the exception of Breanne who, to no one’s surprise, used to be a pompom girl. The end result was a super-cool experience and two new favourite NFL teams for Poppy Barley. We continue to work with these two teams to create their boots. And now... the three most pressing questions we had for Keely: