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Ben just wanted to build a custom shoe. One of ‘em, for himself. Well a pair really, but that’s it. That’s where Lanona started. He figured it couldn’t be that hard to find a shoe repair place that might know how to cobble together a one-off shoe that no one else had. Well it turns out, it’s not only hard, but it can be life-changing to try to build a shoe - before you know it, you’re building a shoe company.

After his initial search for a local cobbler turned up empty, Ben connected with a master shoemaker gracious enough to share his thirty years of experience. Quickly, what started as a passing curiosity transformed into a full-blown obsession. Working for two years with this mentor, the basics of shoemaking, leatherwork, and craftsmanship inspired Ben. Over time, the thought evolved that he might actually be able to start a company focused on hand-making boots and shoes in the United States. In fact, it seemed that it might not only be possible, but potentially profitable, to create a company to make the shoes he started out wanting to build for himself.

On a whim, Ben reached out to Michael to pitch the idea of starting a shoe company. In addition to being an old friend, Michael is the creative director of a design firm with nearly two decades of experience working with clients of almost every size and shape. From some of the world’s largest corporations to the tiniest new startups, Ocupop has served as a trusted steward for hundreds of brands - and Ben knew Michael (and Ocupop co-founder, Jeff) had a soft spot for shoes. Immediately a partnership was born.

Combining Ben’s drive and discerning eye with Ocupop’s design horsepower, Lanona has matured into a fulfilling and fun full-time obsession for all of us. Our products are 100% American made and American sourced. We fabricate our own patent-pending outsoles - the first of which were molded on Ben’s dining room table. Today, Lanona’s workshop is located in the Lowertown neighborhood of St Paul, MN.