Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business


Shoemaker Puts her Best Foot Forward with Machynlleth Shop Expansion


Celebrated shoemaker Ruth Emily Davey has expanded into a newly renovated shop in Machynlleth to meet growing demand across the world for her shoes.

Her bespoke shoemaking business, RED Shoes, is now located at Arfon House, High Street which has a larger shopfloor and fitting area to display the shoes and additional workshops and office space.

Ruth spent all of 2022 renovating the four-story Victorian town house, which is decorated in red and gold and situated next door to the new ‘Gwen’ Restaurant, opened by Michelin starred chef Gareth Ward from Ynys Hir. The move has created two more jobs, as Ruth’s team has expanded to five.

A trained reflexologist, she says the expansion will allow the company to meet customer demand following an increase in business since the Covid pandemic.

RED Shoes opened in Machynlleth in 2016 and Ruth’s distinctive “foot shaped shoes” champion the long-term health of clients’ feet above fashion trends.

The shoes are all handmade and feature a unique design with broad toe box, close fitting arch support and no heel, which is said to encourage the natural movement of the foot.

Ruth has made shoes for Hollywood stars including Drew Barrymore and clients travel from as far away as Alaska, Australia and South America to seek her expertise.

Well known in the field of heritage crafts and bespoke shoemaking, Ruth won the Balvenie Young Master of Craft Award in 2011, the QEST Scholarship in 2013 and the Winston Churchill Traveling Fellowship 2016.

The fellowship enabled her to travel to Japan and Mexico to understand the passing down of skills from master to apprentice.

The opening of the new business premises coincided with the relaunch of a website for sister company, The Original Shandals© Co which specialises in the handmade, “off the peg” version of the bespoke shoes sold at RED.

The Original Shandals© Co was launched in 2019 as a collaboration between Ruth and her former mentor, the late Alan James Raddon, after they discovered that their shoe designs were stolen and reproduced online by a factory in China.

Ruth’s career began as an 18-year-old apprentice to Mr Raddon whose clientele included Billy Connolly, Sir Alec Guinness, Diana Athill and Emma Thompson.

For more information about the businesses, visit or,  find Ruth on Instagram @ruthemilydavey or email [email protected].

Business News Wales