I am Chad Kimball. I’m a Husband, Father, and Shoemaker living in Houston, TX. I have far too many hobbies and interests. I share some of them here.
You can visit my shoe store here to learn more about my company. We make the greatest shoes on Earth. Believe me. You have to.
Some background on me:
I was born in Phoenix, AZ and grew up overseas in Turkey and Germany. It was as incredible as its sounds. Then we did a weird thing and moved to Alabama. I don’t think I even heard of the state before that. I didn’t fit in well. No similar interests to American kids, nor a good fashion sense. It took me a while to adjust. I’m not even sure if I ever actually did. I got into a lot of trouble, had bad grades, and even got expelled from school for knocking a kid out for 5 minutes. His parents pressed charges and an officer came into my classroom a day later, cuffed me and brought me to the station. My dad, a military man, picked me up and didn’t say a word to me the whole way home. When we got there he handed me my toothbrush, pointed to the bathroom and said, “Clean.”
I found some peace with myself in high school when we moved to Houston, TX. The first day of school I met a pretty girl, a cheerleader, who was nice to me. We were paired up for an assignment writing a story about a doctor. She kept saying the word stethoscope, and I didn’t know what it was. I finally asked her, and she laughed at me. She even told other students I didn’t know what it was. I decided right then that I needed to be smarter. For the next three years I took all of my books home and read some of each of them every night whether or not I had homework. I also joined the Technology Students Association and learned Architecture skills. By the time I graduated I was in the top 10 percent of my class, a member of the National Honors Society, and ranked seventh in the nation in Architecture competitions.
I ended up turning down two scholarships in favor of a community college down the street. Why? Because it was down the street and I still didn’t know myself. I figured I’d be an architect, but I also felt something was amiss.
I knew that I liked woodworking and wood carving. I knew that I had an interest in learning musical instruments and had already begun to learn the guitar. I knew that I liked building things. And I knew that I liked the outdoors and camping. Over the next ten years, I found myself. I went camping and took road trips by myself. I read wilderness survival books, biographies, and the bible. I eventually quit school to earn money and practice my new love of playing the drums.
I then got into a music school in Hollywood, CA, packed my car and headed west. Of the 320 people in my class only 32 of us graduated. When I moved out there I figured I’d stay, but by the time I graduated I realized that I didn’t want the musician life – at least not the L.A. one. It seemed like everyone was trying to be a copy of a copy. That was always hard for me. I’m left-handed after all. When do we doing anything the way others do?
I moved back to Houston, did the musician – hired gun thing for a while, got burnt out and eventually found another job. Back to the drawing board, I started reading again. Four books at a time. I also went camping, a lot. I’d park my car, walk for three days into the woods and settle for a couple days. I got pretty good a trapping squirrels and making pine needle tea. I continued to read, practice wood carving and try to learn new skills.
I started to think about architecture again, only this time I wanted to build the structures rather than just design them. Since I was looking into ways at building an affordable home already, I stumbled upon natural building. Natural building is the practice of using the materials of the natural world for building shelter. So I read the books I could find on the subject. A few of the books pointed to websites. A few of the websites pointed to events, natural building events. I started taking road trips to participate in these events. I learned many things at the events and also found a love for growing edibles, as most of the people who practiced natural building also grew their own food. In practicing natural building and gardening I learned to respect the work of my hands and develop a sense of deep connection to their abilities to create. It wasn’t just fun to work with my hands anymore, it was essential.
(As a side note, I believe physical creation through the use of our hands is something we all crave, even without recognizing it.)
After many years of continuous experimentation in using my hands, I finally found shoe making. I has been the most challenging and most rewarding skill set thus far. I make shoes by hand, the way it was done a hundred years ago, and its a beautiful thing.
I met my now wife in 2013. We go road trips and camp together. We love great food. We love our house. We spend our down time together gardening, catching up with friends, and being general badasses. And we love our daughter who we get to meet soon. In fact, I should probably just write that our down time will be spent taking care of her.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog.