Ruth Emily began making shoes age 18 when she was an apprentice to Bespoke Shoemaker Alan James Raddon. Once she mastered the art of shoemaking she set out independently of her mentor, and in 2016 she opened her first shop in Machynlleth, Wales and launched RED Shoes.
A multi award-winning shoemaker, Ruth Emily won the inaugural Balvenie Young Master of Craft Award 2011 as well as the Worshipful Company of Cordwainer’s Award for Innovation 2018/19. She has also taken part in a year’s residency in one of Thomas Heatherwick’s creative units. Her QEST Scholarship enabled a deeper understanding of boot design and helped her to become a trained reflexologist and study British cloth such as Harris Tweed. She has also been awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship which enabled her to travel to Japan and Mexico to understand the passing down of skills from master to apprentice.
In 2019 she took on several apprentices of her own, expanding into two shops and setting up The Original Shandals®co. to make non bespoke ranges of her shoes. Ruth Emily has upwards of twenty years of shoe making experience and has made shoes for the likes of Hollywood stars Drew Barrymore. Clients from far-flung places such as Alaska, Australia and South America have come to her shop in mid-Wales to seek her expertise and her distinctive “foot shaped shoes” champion the long-term health of the clients’ feet above fashion trends.