These Boots are Made for Gawkin’

Local shoe designer Thom Solo scales his business up—way, way up.

Solo’s croc-embossed leather boots ($1,295) make a statement wherever you roam this fall. / Photo by Mona Miri

In the winter of 2020, shoe designer Thom Solo was riding high. He’d just completed his latest editorial collection, had a deep A-list clientele vying for his one-of-a-kind pumps, and was dressing the likes of Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, and Kelly Clarkson. Then—boom—the pandemic hit, and demand for custom and editorial work dried up. But for Solo, it represented a chance to pivot. “It was a real moment to say, you know, am I going to cave to the climate that the world is in?” Solo explains. “Or can I take this downtime, when we were all kind of being told we gotta stay at home, and figure life out?” He chose the latter, deciding to double down on his passion and find a way to produce his sculptural showpieces on a larger scale for shoe mavens everywhere.

The first step? Finding a factory in Italy to create them, rather than continuing the laborious process of making one-off pairs for clients. “My team member and I interviewed about 17 different shoe factories from my couch until we found our absolutely wonderful one in Italy, and they’ve become like family,” Solo says.

Solo’s shoes may be made across the pond now, but his process is still decidedly homegrown. When asked how he creates his designs’ signature undulating waves, zippers, and bling, the Newton native explains that he uses an instrument we’re all familiar with: an iPad. “You’re able to alter something in a matter of seconds,” he says.

When it comes to his new fall collection, what I’m most excited about is that Solo says those boots and pumps everyone has been waiting for won’t break the bank—at least relative to his custom work. The newest collection ranges from $745 to $1,380…certainly not cheap, but not much more than those Louboutins at Saks.

While his prices may have come down from the days of custom, Solo certainly went sky-high with his thigh-highs, which come with heel heights of 4 inches. We’re just thankful that the designer still keeps comfort in mind for his shoes—see: the orthopedic soles on a pair of Lady Gaga-esque showstoppers.

Things we Love

Photo by Luke Reidy

1. “Ruffle” patent-leather pumps, $995.

Photo by Luke Reidy

2. “T-Spine” satin pumps, $1,380.

Photo by Luke Reidy

3. “Rita” satin sandals, $745.

With additional reporting by Andrea Timpano.