Some of his customers believe Gomez can work
miracles. Dr. Shreeniwas Lele, an internist at
University Hospitals, was born in India with a club
foot, which in recent years has threatened his ability
to walk. His own doctors told him he’d soon be in a
wheelchair, but then Dr. Lele found a colleague willing
to design him entirely new shoes and then a shoemaker
– Gomez – with the know-how to make them.
This past August, Dr. Lele took a pair of Gomezadapted
shoes to Nepal and, after a helicopter ride,
walked around a base camp at Mt. Everest, about
10,000 feet below the 29,000-foot peak.
“Guess what? I’m not using a wheelchair,” Dr.
Lele says. “The shoes changed my life. Carlos is a
Diana Khouri, a Shaker Heights-based criminal
lawyer, has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis in her
feet for nearly two decades. For years she had to wear
open sandals because of the severe pain, even in the
dead of winter. “And then my toes would not only be
frozen, but my hose would be wet,” she says.
Medical professionals tried and failed to help
Khouri. Then she found Gomez, who not only designed
permanent inserts for her existing shoes that eased
her pain, but also handbuilt her a pair of stylish black
leather, closed-toe pumps.
Walking in those shoes brought Khouri to tears.
“Even my mom was crying,” Khouri says.
For Gomez, shoes are a family affair. His wife,
Elsa, does the stitching on most of the shoes, and also
repairs and recreates purses and luggage, sometimes
replacing cheap plastic with real leather. His uncle
works in the Shaker store and two of his brothers have
taken over his former shops in downtown Cleveland and
Parma. Gomez’s 70-year-old father occasionally pitches
in during visits from Ecuador, and his 19-year-old son,
Charles, is training to eventually take over the business.
Someday soon, Gomez hopes to have a “Gomez”
branded shoe on the shelves of his Shaker shop.
“This is an art,” he says. “I can create anything with
WWW.SHAKER .LIFE | WINTER 2020 37
To see the array of services available, visit
shoerepairsonline.com and follow them on Facebook.