Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Sriracha Stilettos and Beyond: An Interview With Hourglass Footwear

Edith Zimmerman: So you're part of the company (Hourglass Footwear) that made these phenomenal Sriracha stilettos. Sriracha Stilettos. Would that be a good burlesque name?

Lisa Strom: Go for it! It would definitely be a good burlesque name. Maybe we can sponsor your act.

Kira Bundlie: We can paint the Rock Out design on other shoe styles — flats, mid-heels, stilettos, etc. ... but I have to say that "Sriracha Stilettos" sounds a lot sexier for a burlesque name than "Sriracha Flats."

How did those shoes come about, and how did the whole company come about? (I guess: what's the brief backstory?)

Kira: We're a group of nine female artists and designers who were tired of unreliable freelance projects and joy-killing day jobs. Lisa and I took a total leap of faith and left our jobs, launched a Kickstarter campaign and pretty much did exactly what you're not supposed to do during a down-economy, but there you go. Eight months later, we're doing booming business and we're both starting to breathe normally again.

Lisa: Debbie, the Hourglass artist who came up with the Rock Out design concept, isn't much of a heel-wearer as she is a heel-appreciator (she's more of a combat boot sort of girl). You wouldn't think someone who doesn't wear heels would design them so well, but it works — she sees shoes as canvas more than apparel, so we get all sorts of quirky designs from her.

Kira: Like cuts of meat shoes.

Lisa: And blood spatter shoes.

Visiting your media page highlights how late to the game I am.

Lisa: We've been very fortunate with our media coverage. We've actually got more coming up, too.

Kira: So you're not really late to the game. You're joining the party just as it's getting fun.

And you can paint anything on shoes?

Lisa: Yes! We all have such varied artistic styles and backgrounds. Between the nine of us, we can literally paint anything you can dream up (unless it's patented, of course).

What's your most popular design?

Kira: Aside from the Rock Outs, our Force Majeure design is a big seller. Silk Stockings also sells well. And Flutter By. And Screen Siren. And Burlesque (hey!).

Lisa: About a third of our business is custom, though. Our clients love that they can have anything they want painted on their shoes. In any color, on any style of shoe. Talk about original.

What's the weirdest design someone asked for? (If you can answer on the record.)

Lisa: We painted airstream trailer shoes one time. Oh, and there was a woman who was having trouble finding glass slippers for her Disney wedding, so she asked us to paint her feet on the leather so it looked like the shoes were see-through glass. We love custom orders!

Are there any other condiment (or other) brands you're thinking about? I feel like something addressing the gluten-free thing would be interesting.

Kira: The popularity of the Rock Outs have led to all sorts of other hipster food-related design requests, such as Chinese food takeout boxes, PBR, the iconic Greek coffee cup design, sushi, Spam, etc. Gluten-free Stilettos, though. That's good. And maybe also a burlesque name?


Buyyyy shooooeeeessss, if you want!

38 Comments / Post A Comment


These look so. freaking. cute. And these women are doing amazing work. Uhhg I need a job! <3


Very nicely made. @v


Well, I want all of these.


hngh, DO WANT.


I want an interview with Disney glass slippers lady next! She sounds wild.


And if I had $200 for shoes, I would buy the cuts of meat shoes IN AN INSTANT. Beautiful!


Oh dang, sriracha stilettos would definitely bring ALL of the boys to the yard. Boys fucking love sriracha.


@Megasus Ugh, I wish there were a word for dudes as good as "bitches." "Dudes fucking love sriracha" doesn't have the same punch.

evil melis

i will devote my life to coming up with one


@Megasus Also, I love that the name of the design is "Rock Out," so you can finish the phrase in your head and giggle to yourself.


@meetapossum "The male of the species homo sapiens fucking love sriracha."

Miss Maszkerádi

@meetapossum does "blokes" work? Or is it too painfully British?


Call me a nerd, but I'm just so curious what their technique is.
If they're painting them, how do they make it durable?


Call me a nerd, but I think they have a website?

Our shoes are hand-painted and then triple sealed. This makes them waterproof, and it protects the paint from coming off. We've all been wearing our painted heels regularly for close to a year now, and they still look great. Small scuffs can simply be wiped with a damp cloth or some clear shoe polish.


Linked these to a friend of mine who loves both shoes and sriracha. What a cool business! I'm really surprised at how low the prices are, considering.


Oh man, these are gorgeous, but I have such bad luck getting shoes online. (Do they ever fit right? They do not.) DECISIONS.


It seems that you can mail them your own shoes and they will paint them! So you could find ones that fit, then send those over and have them prettified.




yessssss khaleesi


@JanieS I was thinking the same thing but then I notice that their home studio is right down the street from my house and you can GO there!!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssah!


*Sigh* There's no chance they ship to Canada, right? I want me a pair of turquoise stone shoes so badly.

Trash Addict@twitter

@MilesofMountains Looks like they do!


@MilesofMountains We do ship to Canada! Send me an email at lisa@hourglassfootwear.com and we can set that up.


I would NOT mind some flats or comfort shoes. (Or even mid-heels, but I'd wear them less than the flats.) Maybe in Kiss the Sky? Oh man...


@frigwiggin I was sad to note that the midheels are 3 inches! I was hoping for some sweet kitten heels, a bit lower and easier to walk around in, but somewhat sleeker than the flats/comfies.


@PatatasBravas Send us some kitten heels! We'd love to paint them! Thanks for all of the great comments, too.

Trash Addict@twitter

Ouch, so sad they don't ship to Australia! (couldn't even register an Australian billing address).


@Trash Addict@twitter Hi! This is Lisa from Hourglass. We do ship to Australia, but do that through PayPal instead of through our website. Send me an email! Lisa@hourglassfootwear.com

Trash Addict@twitter

@HourglassGals Thanks Lisa!


I'd like to know where the unpainted shoes are made. I couldn't find this info on the website, and I think it's important. And I second PatatasBravas, kitten heels would be great.


@gtrachel Hi! Lisa from Hourglass again. For now, we wholesale our shoes, so there is not one particular brand name or country of origin. We are working with a company in California to get our shoes made for us--in the USA!
And send us your kitten heels! We'd love to paint them.


Oh lord, they have flats and "comfort" shoes (not sure what that means but it sounds right for me!). Welp, there goes my tax refund!

eva luna

Do you make narrow shoes? I'm something like a 9 AAAA, so finding heels is a bit of a challenge. Or I can find shoes and send them?


@eva luna Yes, please! Send us your shoes. We currently do not have narrow sizes available.


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