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Posted: April 16, 2009

Colorado Cool Stuff: Vez Sandals

Paonia company makes handcrafted leather sandals

Eric Peterson

After designing and developing sandals for Chaco, Steve Chavez wanted to do his own thing. “I found myself going in a different direction artistically,” he says, noting that he’s “addicted to leather and women’s footwear.”


After Chavez left Chaco in 2006, he came up with a business plan to make handcrafted leather sandals, his wife signed off on it, and Vez was born. Now he makes five styles of fashionable women’s sandals: the emotionally named Passion, Delight, Ecstasy, Desire and — new this spring — Euphoria. “I’m trying to keep it fun and convey it’s art and not mass-produced footwear,” Chavez says. “My main challenge is convincing people I exist.” $110 to $170 retail. Made by Vez Sandals USA (a dba for Vez Inc.), Paonia, (970) 372-5461,

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Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at

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