Meet The Shoe Surgeon

Meet The Shoe Surgeon

Sneakers. Creativity. Deconstructed, reconstructed and customized. Last month, LA-based creatives at The Shoe Surgeon debuted at the Seaport. Along with a retail component coming soon, The Shoe Surgeon offers workshops and classes dedicated to the art of the sneaker through SRGN Academy.

Founded by Dominic “The Shoe Surgeon” Ciambrone, SRGN Academy empowers creators, artists and sneaker enthusiasts to succeed, with the tools, skills, and high standards that has made their own customization business so sought-after.

Intrigued? Get to know The Shoe Surgeon aka Dominic Ciambrone, and go behind the scenes to learn more about all that goes into the intricate art of customizing kicks.

When did you become the Shoe Surgeon?
Around 2006-2007 was when the name was coined. I was born a surgeon and started performing surgery on shoes in high school.

What are some words you’d use to describe your creative process?
Unorthodox, natural, unexpected.

How challenging is the sneaker compared to other artistic mediums?
I believe every medium has its own set of challenges. There’s quite a few variables with shoes since there are so many sizes and components—every project we work on is a unique process in itself.

Why was it important for you to create SRGN Academy?
To create a place to learn hands on. I grew up going to a traditional school where I learned from a textbook, and I didn’t comprehend it. I believe we should make things by hand and that’s how I was able to learn.

What have you learned from stepping into the role of teacher or coach?
To keep going. That I need to keep going and be better for not only myself, but for the others I teach and guide.

What are some of your proudest milestones?
My proudest milestone… that I’m still alive and I created and chose wisely. I’m grateful to have met people that help me harness my vision and push it forward.

What appeals to you about working in the Seaport?
Being in or around NYC is a blessing. NYC is where The Shoe Surgeon name was first written down on paper. The creative energy at each class we’ve taught in the Seaport area has been on another level. Excited to be back.

What do you hope to share with others beyond the works of art you create?
Love, family and my mental health journey. And how anyone can overcome the challenges they face when they start taking care of themselves and loving themselves.

The Shoe Surgeon By the Numbers

How many years have you been customizing shoes?
20+ years.

How many students have you taught in your class?
Over 2,000.

How many countries have you taught in?
9 countries between workshops and classes.

How many cans of paint have you used?
I’ve painted a few houses so I’d say enough. And by enough, hundreds.

How many different materials have gone into your shoes?
Thousands. Material sourcing is one of my main loves.

How much were the most expensive pair of shoes you’ve created (so far)?

What other numbers are meaningful for you?
11. My favorite number. Playing fútbol growing up, 11 was always my number. 22 is my youngest brother’s birthday and very special to me. Also, 86—my birth year.

How many sneakers have you worked on to date?
It’s not really about a number. And truthfully, I don’t know. I don’t believe in counting. What’s more important is how many lives the brand has been able to touch to make a difference positively. I believe if I taught a class and a student made a shoe, or continues to make shoes, from what we’ve taught them, there’s a part of me in it. If I had to put a number on it, it would be upwards of thousands.

Swing by the space at 8 Fulton Street to browse custom pairs of shoes (coming soon) or consult on a creation all your own. Feeling inspired? Sign up for one of SRGN Academy’s signature workshops and learn the craft of shoe customization from the experts.

Explore SRGN Academy Classes >