It’s pronounced rōm, like ‘roam,’ and it stems from the sacred sound of ‘om.’ I started the brand after I learned about the concept of grounding, which simply means having your body be in direct contact with the earth’s surface. Since most people can’t be barefoot all the time, I thought, “I should make a shoe that provides the same health benefits as being barefoot.” My first “real job” was at DC Shoes, and I’ve been in the footwear industry ever since. With the help of several friends, I launched Raum on a crowdfunding site in July 2019.
Even though they’re very minimalist slipons, it takes about 72 hours to make a single pair. Our shoes are handmade by Turkish artisans and Syrian refugees in Gaziantep, Turkey—I randomly came into contact with a gentleman at one of my favorite Encinitas coffee shops, Lofty, who happened to own a small atelier in Gaziantep. After he returned, we stayed in close contact and began prototyping and sampling. The artisans there have been constructing these types of shoes for over five generations. It’s beautiful. All the materials are sourced locally within an 80-mile radius, and we don’t use any steel molds or synthetics like modern footwear. This greatly reduces the water waste and toxic chemical runoff that’s so common in the footwear industry. The soles are vegetable-tanned leather, and each stitch is done by hand with two large needles.
The 100 percent copper rivet through the sole allows for conductivity between your body and the earth. The rivet is handhammered by me—my workspace is my garage, not glamorous but it gets the job done—and has direct contact with the bottom of your foot on the KD1 acupuncture point, as well as the earth’s surface, allowing the abundance of free flowing electrons found on the earth’s surface to enter your body. There are a large variety of possible health benefits in allowing these electrons to neutralize your body’s internal charge.