Our Story

ARTWALKS is dedicated to creating a platform based on adorable printed footwear to support and promote a variety of deserving children’s books and illustrators. This Kickstarter campaign is the beginning of our journey to develop a line of children’s footwear that will inspire a love for art and reading in kids one pair at a time. 

Ben Zhu is an illustrator turned full time manager at an art gallery called Nucleus. Nucleus was established in 2004 and has since been devoted to bring more awareness and appreciation to illustration, animation, and entertainment art. (www.gallerynucleus.com) Having featured several children’s books in the shop and exhibited several amazing children’s book illustrators in the gallery, the idea of a kids shoe based on children’s books began to form. Although there are already shoes based on children’s books, it was mostly the same two to three books. There are so many beautifully illustrated books that deserved to be printed in this medium and to give toddlers an early start on the joys of reading and art. Surprised that there is no shoe brand devoted solely to the promotion of children’s books, the idea for ARTWALKS began.

After an initial test launch at a local book fair and selling out of the few sample shoes he made, Ben found that many parents and non-parents alike responded positively to the shoe & book combination. There seemed to be an opportunity to build the footwear line into something bigger. Seeking professionals in the footwear industry, Ben asked Asako Iwase to join the team. As a footwear designer for Children’s and Women’s for over ten years, Asako worked to improve the design and development of the shoes. Together they formed ARTWALKS in hopes to create a platform and become an advocate for children’s book authors and illustrators and encourage reading and art, all through the medium of kids shoes. 

Check out our Kickstarter campaign / video to learn more about our initial line.