Shopping

Put Your Best Foot Forward with Custom Kicks from Adelante Shoe Co.

A locally founded startup brings custom shoes with a conscience to Newbury Street.


Photo by Travis Rathbone

Who among us hasn’t struggled to buy shoes? Maybe you can’t get the width right or your foot seems to fall somewhere between sizes—whatever the case, we often end up settling, telling ourselves that maybe the leather will stretch out over time, or we’ll just wear a thicker sock to make up the difference. You might think custom shoes would be the solution, but with cobblers disappearing by the day, where can you even go to get a pair anymore?

Enter Adelante Shoe Co., which, after years of selling made-to-order footwear online, just opened a permanent shop on Newbury Street last month. Founded by Massachusetts native Peter Sacco, the Boston-based startup offers about a dozen core styles for women and men, ranging from classic penny loafers to high-heel ankle booties perfect for stepping through early-spring slush to cute and comfy leather sandals. The best part? You can choose from up to 10 different colorways, seven widths, and 23 sizes.

Inside Adelante Shoe Co.’s new Back Bak shop; all of the company’s shoes are made to order in Guatemala, and arrive on your doorstep a mere 10 days after ordering. / Photo by Mona Miri

The company’s shoes don’t just look and feel good—they have a feel-good story behind them, too. The seed for the e-commerce brand was planted on a post-college trip to Central America, where a young Sacco encountered the town of Pastores, Guatemala, known for its rich history of European-style shoemaking and still home to thousands of talented craft shoemakers. After touching down in Boston again, it hit him: What if he could connect these skilled Guatemalan artisans with the U.S. market, paying them a living wage while delivering handmade kicks to American consumers in a flash? After a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016, Adelante Shoe Co. was born.

Five years later, it joins several other homegrown favorites that began as direct-to-consumer startups and transitioned to brick-and-mortar spaces on Boston’s most iconic shopping street, including Tracksmith, Alps & Meters, and Ministry of Supply. The new shop will offer customers plenty of samples to help them find their perfect fit, as well as a select range of inventory so they can walk out with a pair that day. “It’s a great environment for us; it’s a great opportunity,” Sacco says. “We’re excited to get in there and learn from both the experience and the customers we interact with.”

Things We Love

Photo by Joseph Nance Photography

1 “The Camila” leather mules, $185.

Photo by Joseph Nance Photography

2 “The Mendoza” leather Chelsea boots, $265.

Photo by Joseph Nance Photography

3 “The Havana” high-top leather boots, $265.