SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio shoe artist Ray Houston took his passion for shoes to the next level by making a design of his own.
In June, he flew to Los Angeles to take a four-day course on sneaker deconstruction and reconstruction through the Surgeon Creators Academy.
“Taking apart and making shoes from scratch definitely intrigued my thoughts and I wanted to do it and see if I could,” he said.
Houston said he was inspired by the events that week, as well as his own love of DC Comics, to make his design called “Black Manta Ray,” after a fictional supervillain.
“I just thought it would be pretty cool to do something. Not necessarily he was a hero, but a villain. But just to highlight an African American during the Juneteenth weekend that I was there,” he said. “And also, those are my favorite colors. So the red, black, white and gray, they all went together.”
Houston had different materials to work with and he chose stingray leather, shark leather, red python, white buffalo and crocodile.
At the end of the course, students pit their designs against each other in a competition to have their design sold to the public for a limited time.
Voting began Friday and will end Saturday, July 4th at midnight, pacific standard time.
Proceeds from the sales of any shoe that wins will go toward charity. Houston said the winner will also get a monetary reward.
Houston said if he wins, he’ll use the funds to buy equipment and materials to continue with his newfound passion for shoe design.
“I just ask that you vote for me and so I can continue creating for the city,” he said.
You can cast your vote here -- Houston’s shoe is the Black Manta Ray.