Waconia’s Greenwich Vintage: Colorful Shoes for Modern Connoisseurs

Master cobbler Tamas Pomazi offers a colorful take on shoes in Waconia.

“In my mind, every sneaker head needs to grow up, but they all want to be able to wear sneakers and express themselves through their footwear,” says Tamas “Zen” Pomazi, a grown-up sneaker head turned master cobbler. Pomazi, who owns Greenwich Vintage in Waconia, started his shoemaking career by customizing athletic shoes for rap artists, skateboarders and ball players. “From the deconstruction and reconstruction and doing custom orders, I have always had a passion for footwear,” he says. Pomazi’s audience now includes “anyone who is seeking to step their grown man game up… from the sneaker head in the street to the executive in the boardroom.” The shoemaker’s signature element is brightly colored soles that add a fresh zap to vintage kicks. Pomazi and his partner, Max Miller, opened their online shoe shop in 2011, where customers can repurpose their own shoes, design an original shoe or buy a pair of the company’s array of sneakers, boots, chukkas and wingtips. “What’s great about our products and services is that the options are endless,” Pomazi says. “Customers can do anything from customizing what’s in their closet, building their own or selecting from our ready-to-wear.” Pomazi draws inspiration for design and color from his 30 years in the graffiti industry and his background in hip hop music. The customization of everything from Air Force Ones to denim jackets also cultivated his interest in the re-crafting footwear and adding a jolt of color. When Pomazi’s father passed away in 2005, Pomazi inherited a collection of wingtip shoes. “I wanted to restore these old wingtips because they came from someone who meant a lot to me,” Pomazi says. “I wanted them to be wearable and comfortable, but also give them my own twist with a pop of color.” But in order to combine the classic look of his father’s style with the urban, modern feel of a Jordan sneaker, Pomazi had to learn the art of cobbling and shoe repair. He recognized a hole in the industry and quickly stepped in to fill it.  The first thing that a cobbler must have is a love for shoes. The knowledge of different techniques of deconstruction and reconstruction, leather making and general handiness follows. Pomazi also credits his shoemaking talent to an ingrained “crafter’s mentality,” which he inherited from his Hungarian immigrant parents. “My father was a painter and a refined gentleman along with my grandfather, so that style and ability to work with art and colors translated to [my shoe business] and really sparked my interest and gift in this industry,” he says. Master cobbler may be a dying occupation, but Greenwich Vintage is an ardent keeper of the craft, melding vintage style with contemporary flair; repurposing the classics to preserve the past for future generations. Greenwich Vintage only carries goods made in the United States and scours the country for American-made heritage brands so that a sense of purpose and history permeates each pair of revived footwear. “Repurposed shoes” may sound like an ecological mission, but style is the driving factor in the creation of Greenwich Vintage shoes. Pomazi has a carefully thought out shoe philosophy and believes that the quality of your shoes is more important than the quantity. “The care of your shoes and boots starts the moment you begin or the moment you buy a shoe,” Pomazi says. “Recognizing how you will actually use your shoe will shape the shoe to your foot. If you want your shoe to last, take care of it, clean it, and re-craft it the right way.” Future plans for Greenwich Vintage include the manufacturing of their soles and footwear exclusively in America. “We want to provide a colored sole option for every Mom and Pop shoe repair shop across the country, and we want to design, create and distribute our own line of wingtips, boots, chukkas, loafers, etc. with colored soles,” Pomazi says. Waconia has proven to be a good place to do business. Pomazi’s wife, an attorney, was born in Waconia. The company rents out space at the town’s shoe workshop called “Papa’s Shoe Repair.”Greenwich Vintage shoe services:Recraft:  $225.00Iconic colorway: $245.00Built to order: $275.00 and up  All Greenwich Vintage products can be purchased through the web store at greenwichvintage.us/shop.