“Bear is mad. He was the first one to have to leave the park for a nap. He got an owie on the way home. And then he had to take off his boots and leave his favorite stick outside. Bear thinks it is all no fair. And that makes him very…very…MAD!” – Mad, Mad Bear! by Kimberly Gee.
As a Kindergarten teacher, Erika McCulloch of Mad Bear Shoes knows what kids want. “I started Mad Bear Shoes as a hobby. My daughter always wants matching shoes with her outfits so I learned how to make some,” McCulloch shared. “I had friends request I make some for their kiddos and it took off from there.”
McCulloch launched Mad Bear Shoes in September of 2018. The shop handcrafts customized, fabric-covered sneakers for both big and little feet. Simply provide your shoe size, fabric selection and preference for slip-on or tie sneaker style and Mad Bear takes it from there. “Once I have shoes and fabric in-hand, I glue the fabric onto the shoe. When it dries, I cut out the fabric to fit the shoe exactly and then I do a final layer of Mod Podge to seal and let them dry for 48 hours,” McCulloch explained of her design process. Pricing ranges from $20 to $28 (for kids through adults), and Mad Bear’s turnaround time is typically 4 weeks, depending on availability of fabric and shoes.
From dinosaurs and Legos to Disney princesses and Harry Potter prints, McCulloch can create shoes to match virtually any of your handmade t-shirts, dresses, shorts and joggers. Also, the shop offers a great way for a mama to find shoes to match her littles. The fabric transforms a basic sneaker into something special. McCulloch is preferential to “anything monochrome or rainbow, but I love all the creative ideas my customers have,” she exclaimed. Her favorite part of creating is “the joy and happiness I hear that the kids have from the shoes. Seeing their favorite characters on shoes they get to wear daily is the best.”
McCulloch often releases new fabric designs and offers great sales (like her recent 15% off everything sale this past weekend!). Images of all of the available fabric selections are posted in the Mad Bear Shoes VIP Facebook group here and Instagram account here. Pick out your own design or request a custom for some fun summer kicks!