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Bootmaker Passes Craft on to Next Generation

A father passes craft and business to his son

By Garvin Thomas
|  Friday, Sep 20, 2013  |  Updated 2:10 PM PDT
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Garvin Thomas introduces us to a man experienced in the art of bootmaking and the reason he passed the craft on to his youngest son.

Garvin Thomas introduces us to a man experienced in the art of bootmaking and the reason he passed the craft on to his youngest son.

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Innovation is not always the key to success.

This couldn’t be more true than it is for Roberto Herrera, a San Jose resident who has worked in a  shoe-repair shop for the past 40 years.

Herrera performs an art that few can boast mastery of; even fewer in the Silicon Valley. He crafts boots entirely by hand.

He says he's always had a passion for boot making, since his father taught him the art.

His passion grew and grew, but suddenly stopped when Herrera’s oldest son died in a car accident.

Not sure how to survive such a tragedy, Herrera closed up shop.

The passion however, was reborn when his youngest son Raphael decided to follow in his footsteps four and a half years ago.

Herrera has not only taught his son how to use proportions and patterns to make the best boot possible, he has instilled a love of the craft.

He enjoys the memories, the relationships with his customers, and now seeing his son’s passion for boot making.

As Roberto puts it, teaching his son his trade reminds him of doing just that with his own father. He is pleased that his legacy, not to mention such a traditional craft, will continue on into the future.

He says the best boots are made when he has a connection with the customer. If Roberto doesn't feel that connection, he simply will not make the boot.

Today, father and son work side by side crafting one of a kind shoes that are made not just to fit the sole of a customer’s foot, but the soul of the person who wears it.

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