By: Miguel González We create comfortable, functional and aesthetically beautiful footwear Our artisans of cobblery, or shoe makers, carry in their veins the dexerity to combine art with the functional and the natural. These are precisely the qualities of the shoes that are made at Industrias Xela. Always offering clients comfortable, clean and aesthetically pleasing footwear. Handmade and crafted with materials that are natural, flexible, resilient and sustainable. It is necessary to pay homage to the history of shoes, an article of clothing as old as humanity itself. The written text from the legendary Maya culture describes how they originally protected their feet with leafs, plant materials and animal skins, which were tanned with substances extracted from plants. Recently, they have begun to use latex, a resource they obtained from the sap of certain trees. "My hands have created many styles of shoes," says David Domingo Gerónimo, an artisan of Industrias Xela. He has more than 40 years of experience in cobblery and he defines himself as a creator and designer of shoes. This experienced cobbler explains that "designing styles, cutting the leather, stitching, assembling the parts to fit a perfectly crafted mold and placing the sole are the basic steps in the process of shoe making. It is the result of an incredible team effort." He also emphasizes that the defining attributes of these beautiful shoes are its handmade nature and the pure materials used to create a pair. With a conviction and commitment to excellence, the artisans emerse themselve in each step that contributes to the production of shoes. The design of a new style begins with a simple idea which is later sketched onto paper, subsequently a pattern is made. The style is then perfected with a creative eye and that same drive for excellence. Finally, the task is passed to the shoe makers, who imprint quality on every shoe that their hands shape. Human Developement Industrias Xela products are the result of a collaboration between the idea of creating exclusive articles of clothing and accessories of the highest quality, while giving opportunities to Guatemalan workers, which in turn showcases the beautiful talents of artisans in Guatemalan communities. This collaboration of steps completes a cycle of sustainable employment and human developement, in which all win. Another charactaristic of this type of sustainable work is generational transition. Experienced artisans are able to pass on traditional handcrafts and techniques to the rising generation. "I feel so pleased to work at [Industrias Xela] and give all my effort and ingenuity to maintain a level of quality in the products we fabricate. The company values our dedication in the workplace and is supportive and selfless. They support us with scholarships and healthcare," describes cobbler Vicente Romero. Handmade work is the heart and soul of our workshops and artisans. This will continue to be our working attitude toward each new item we create; as part of the evolution of ancestral footwear that began with guaraches and sandals in the Mayan civilization.