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Four years ago Caitlin Fielder didn’t have a gift planned for the birthday of her partner, George Bennett. So the WorldTour climber asked if his artist could design something on his shoes. Fast forward to today, and Fielder has a business going painting shoes for cyclists around the world.
In the Tour de France this year, Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) is racing in Maori-themed Shimano S-Phyre shoes painted by Fielder.
While the first few pairs of custom shoes were done with markers, Fielder now uses a special leather acrylic paint, but preparing the shoes for painting is the critical step, she said.
“It’s really important to take off the factory finish that comes on the cycling shoes or else the paint won’t stick, and will most likely chip off,” Fielder said. “Once I am finished painting the shoes they’re like a factory finished pair, and the paint and design stays on incredibly well.”
Fielder painted her own shoes as a trial when thinking about turning his craft into a business, and the paint is still holding strong, she said.
“I find George water-blasting his shoes a lot to clean them, which is a pretty intense method to clean the shoes,” she said. “But the paint stays on so I can say with assurance that the paint sticks!”
Fielder said her business has grown organically, with word of mouth inside the peloton helping out.
“I’m really lucky to be friends with a lot of the guys in the pro peloton who are keen to wear my art work so that helps a lot,” she said.
Check out the photos below for some of her other recent work.