If you shop at Eleven Thirty, you’ve probably seen Alexa Schoorl’s handmade clogs. Her homegrown clog brand, Run Pony Pony, was born from a desire to create, and a course in sandal-making offered by a friend.
“A friend of mine was putting on a workshop to teach stay-at-home moms how to make sandals to give them a skill, and I became super interested in leather. I started making shoes like crazy, which led to handcrafting bags, and then, about a year ago, I began making clogs,” says Schoorl.
Schoorl designs the soles for her clogs and does the finishing work (sanding and varnishing), including the leatherwork. The leather itself is not only an essential part of Schoorl’s clogs; the way it’s sourced and cured is something that she wants buyers to know.
“I use vegetable tanned leather from a tannery in Pennsylvania that uses Canadian cowhides. Most tanneries are overseas, so I’m really excited to be using leather from the states that isn’t coming very far,” she says.
Not only is the leather used to make Run Pony Pony clogs coming from, essentially, a Canadian source, it’s also coming from a tannery that puts working conditions first — an element of design that is important to Schoorl.
“Some leather produced in other countries may not be coming from a place that has good working conditions, so it was important for me to find leather coming from a place with decent conditions,” she says.
Schoorl wants to emphasize that all of her clogs are made in-house to order.
“You can come into the shop and try on the style that you like, and then I make them to order,” she says.
Customers can choose from an array of styles that can be found on the Eleven Thirty website or create a custom leather design. Run Pony Pony clogs are not only unique; they’re also the only handmade wooden clogs you’ll find in the GTA and possibly in Canada.
“I don’t know of anybody else in Canada making wooden clogs, and it’s even hard to find clogs in Toronto,” she says.
Run Pony Pony clogs can be found on the Eleven Thirty website or by stopping by the shop at 1130 College St.