Richard Polk was attending a wedding in New York City when he first heard the words that would permanently alter his life: Earth Shoes. Revolutionary in the 1960s, Earth Shoes offered superior functionality and comfort with a design that placed the heel below the ball of the foot. Upon returning to his home in Boulder, Polk knew that Coloradans would rave over the support offered by Earth Shoes, necessary for the active outdoor lifestyles of those in the area.
So he began selling shoes - out of the back of his pick-up truck.
From here, his shoe business blossomed into Pedestrian Shops with two locations in Boulder, the flagship storefront prominently stationed right on Pearl Street Mall. For the past 50 years, Pedestrian Shops has been fueled by the same purpose that drove Polk to begin selling out of the back of his car: provide comfortable, functional shoes without compromising on style.
As for his daughters Zoe Polk and Lauren Polk Brown, they have never known a life without shoes. “Growing up, as a family we were always very involved with the stores. We talked business at the kitchen table. As soon as we were old enough to have jobs, we both worked in the store during high school summers. Now, I have been the full-time manager since 2013,” explained Zoe.
And where better to be than where it all began in Downtown Boulder? “Our brand really resonates with Boulder because we offer needed functionality with sought-after style, perfect for anything from outdoor recreation to indoor relaxation. Boulder embraces us because we embrace Boulder,” said Zoe.
The benefits of a downtown location are numerous. “Being downtown provides an adventure. I love hearing stories from locals and seeing both familiar faces and tourists on the Mall. Another one of my favorite parts of being downtown is smelling warm waffle cones on summer evenings from ice cream carts. The energy of Pearl Street is unmatched,” marveled Zoe.
She encourages anyone who is able to shop downtown and support local businesses. And if you are looking for shoes - whether warm or cold, outdoor or indoor - stop by Pedestrian Shops, the Boulder experts in comfortable footwear for the past 50 years. While they have evolved from the back of a pick-up truck, their commitment to quality service and reliable products remains the same. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram (@PedestrianShops) and Enjoy Life, Take a Walk.