I am Ann Krause, the Swan Creek Shoemaker, a one-woman business located in Toledo, OH. I hand-craft everyday boots and shoes that contribute to the well-being of your feet. I believe that the most important aspects of this well-being are individuality, breathability, and durability.
Each pair of boots and shoes is individually tailored to your feet using measurements to capture the key features of each foot and to draft a pattern specifically for you. Do you have bunions? Two different sized feet? Wide-feet
For the Curious, How I Became a Shoemaker
and how dependent we have become on mass-produced shoes from overseas factories. This led me to my first shoemaking class…and I was hooked. Finally, I had found a type of craft from the past I could see myself working on for a long time.
Whenever possible, I find old machines and tools to create my footwear because the quality and durability can’t be beat. My American Straight Needle is a great example. It was created to stitch soles onto shoes and has been in service for over a hundred years but still works like a dream. I hand-crank it when I sew uppers to the mid-soles. All of my footwear is created from basic materials: leather, thread, metal, and soles.
I hope that you love wearing your Swan Creek boots or shoes as much I love making them!
and narrow heels (like me)? Perfect feet? I work with them all. You select the footwear style, leather, and options. The result is a pair of boots or shoes that is truly unique to you and far more comfortable than any shoe bought off the shelf.
Leather breathes. Your foot will be surrounded with leather using vegetable-tanned leather for the midsole and chrome-tanned leather for the uppers.
Your shoes will provide years of service with normal wear, regular cleaning, and conditioning. Leather midsoles provide the option of resoling whenever the outer sole wears thin.
The initial cost of Swan Creek footwear is higher than the boots and shoes found in stores but they will last longer, providing an overall cost that is lower over the lifetime of the footwear – and they are so comfortable you’ll want to keep them forever.
Swan Creek shoe and boot styles are named after the local rivers and creeks that support the well-being of Lake Erie just as Swan Creek footwear will help support your well-being!
When I left my career as an environmental scientist in 2012, I wasn't sure what type of work to do next. I knew I wanted to improve people's well-being but didn't know how. So I revisited many of my former interests and eventually identified two themes that weaved through my life: working with the past and fiber arts.
I have always had a passion for working with the past. As a child in Detroit I would gather the neighborhood kids together to play out the “olden days” where my garage became a log cabin and our bikes became horses. Plants were gathered to be used in “cooking” and I would wear a long, thick skirt during the dog-days of summer. One summer in college, I had the wonderful experience of working at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI, where I took tintypes (photographs on metal) of visitors using 19th century equipment and methods. Later, the past often worked its way into my scientific research on Great Lakes ecology (I'll spare you the geeky details here but feel free to ask!).
Hand crafts have also been a constant in my life and I have the good fortune of being surrounded by excellent fiber artists – my mother, grandmother, and aunts. The numerous crafts I have tried with varying levels of success include sewing, weaving, spinning, and tatting. After reading a story about the importance of shoes in the past, I remembered a story my husband's great-aunt told of the depression, and how shoes were handed down among the 7 children in the family. Often it required placing cardboard in the bottoms because the soles would have worn through. It got me thinking about how shoes were made in the past