Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of an American-Made Shoe - COMUNITYmade


Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of an American-Made Shoe

Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of an American-Made Shoe

by Shannon Scott April 02, 2024

You've probably bought a pair of American-made shoes. But have you ever wondered about the journey it took, the hands that shaped it, and the values it embodies? Let's step inside the vibrant world of COMUNITYmade, where each shoe is not just a product, but a story of passion, purpose, and a deep commitment to American craftsmanship.

A Look at COMUNITYmade's Downtown LA Facility

COMUNITYmade is a shoe company located at the heart of the Los Angeles Arts District. Their headquarters at 584 Mateo Street serves as the showroom and event space, with a front lounge area and cobbling station. COMUNITYmade makes premium men women shoes, handcrafted locally to support the local economy and bring back the lost art of quality manufacturing to LA. So, it's not just about making shoes but about using them as a tool to help build the community.

Let's take a virtual tour of the company's downtown LA facility.

COMUNITYmade has a space at 584 Mateo Street designed for people to hang out, meet new friends, and discuss how they can be a part of the community. The space features a front living room that houses a collection of locally handcrafted shoes that everyone can try on and buy on-site. It's also where people can cozy up, sip coffee, network, and recharge. Then, there's the main space for people to create the event of their imagination – whether it's intimate concerts, workshops, or charitable fundraisers.

"One of the key things is to have events here," said Sean Scott, the CEO and Founder of COMUNITYmade." We want to use it to connect with people and make good things happen in the community, to really facilitate participation."

COMUNITYmade holds events to benefit its partners and also connect with people. These events showcase music, education, arts, and community involvement.

"We know that homelessness and violence in our communities are issues that need immediate attention. We want to contribute to long-term sustainable solutions to these issues. We've partnered with Youth Mentoring Connection, Street Poets, and The People Concern for the Unhoused to help us do that," Sean added.

These community groups work to provide self-worth and dignity to community members, providing them with hand up rather than handouts.

"With your help, we can help revitalize the shoe manufacturing community in Los Angeles. We can help provide jobs to community members. And we can help Street Poets, Youth Mentoring Connection, and The People Concern save lives," he concluded.

The Shoe Manufacturing Process at COMUNITYmade

Behind the scenes is the shoemaking process, where skilled artisans transform raw materials into bespoke footwear. At COMUNITYmade, it's all about factory-to-feet. The shoe factory manufactures a range of quality boots and shoes, including casual shoes, running shoes, and work boots.

They take pride in fair living wages, made in the United States and ethical, sustainable footwear that supports the local community. For every pair sold, they donate to support their mission, including supporting arts, education, and ending homelessness.

COMUNITYmade shoe designs feature uppers made from premium Italian leather, plant based materials or engineered knits made from recycled plastics. They also utilize a variety of high end midsole materials featuring a high-elastic EVA midsole, Vibram rubbers, and BLUMAKA midsoles that utilize 85% recycled foam content. 

Here's a look at the manufacturing process and how skilled artisans create custom shoes.

Precision Cutting

At the heart of the process is the precise cutting of parts. Skilled artisans at COMUNITYmade meticulously follow patterns or outlines, using knives, scissors, shears, or machine presses to ensure accuracy in creating the foundational components of each custom pair.

Construction and Decoration

Once the pieces are cut, the artisans move on to the construction phase. They use needles, sewing machines, thread, glue, leather lacing, clamps, hand tools, or rivets to combine the disparate parts, creating the shoe's structure.

Material Alignment and Bonding

The artisans meticulously align and stitch or glue various materials such as fleece, fabric, leather, or wood to join the different parts. This ensures the durability and aesthetic appeal of the shoe.

Artistic Enhancement

COMUNITYmade takes shoemaking beyond mere functionality. Artistic enhancements play a significant role in the process. The artisans dye, soak, polish, paint, stamp, stitch, stain, buff, or engrave leather and other materials to obtain desired effects, decorations, or shapes.

Finishing Touches

The final steps involve dressing and finishing the boots or shoes. Artisans trim the edges of new soles and heels to the shoe shape, ensuring that every pair meets the highest craftsmanship standards and aligns with the design specifications.

COMUNITYmade Difference

COMUNITYmade makes high-quality shoes in Los Angeles. But beyond that, they are here to:

  • Train people
  • Get the community involved
  • Produce locally
  • Bring craftsmanship to America
  • Contribute to the local economy

Here's a look at things that set COMUNITYmade apart from other American clothing and shoe manufacturers:

Sustainability and Responsibility

They prioritize sustainability and responsibility in every decision. From material sourcing to manufacturing processes, their commitment extends beyond fashion trends. The goal is to minimize their environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Global Sourcing for Quality

In their quest for quality, they embrace global sourcing without compromising their commitment to excellence. Local materials are a priority, but COMUNITYmade recognizes that pursuing the finest materials sometimes leads them overseas. This global approach ensures that each product maintains the highest standards of craftsmanship.

A Cost-Value Proposition

They offer more than just American-made products; they provide a cost-value proposition. While their shoes may require a slightly higher upfront cost, they emphasize the long-term value and durability. This approach encourages consumers to shift from a disposable mindset to one that values lasting quality, making each purchase an investment in enduring craftsmanship.

COMUNITYmade welcomes you to their space in DTLA. Whether you're looking for a new pair of premium shoes, intrigued by the art of shoemaking, or simply looking for a unique experience in the heart of the Los Angeles Arts District, we've got you covered. Visit our space at 584 Mateo Street, or contact us to start your COMUNITYmade experience. You can also connect with us on social media platforms.

Shannon Scott
Shannon Scott


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Find Your Perfect Size

We want to help make sure that your new shoes have the best fit possible.  

We have created a separate fit for men and women to provide the ultimate foot hugging comfort.  Our sockliner and upper materials will naturally mold to your foot and stretch out after a short period of time, so do allow for this when trying our shoes on initially.


 In general, our shoes are running closer to an everyday shoe fit vs. an athletic shoe fit and can be worn with or without socks - but the socks have to be eye catching for best results.


Any variances from this chart will be noted on each individual product page.