THOUGH A 5TH-GRADE MATH TEACHER of Tuttle Elementary School first and foremost, Shelley Sanders takes her off-time to travel around the world. A quirky tradition she picked up with her globetrotting buddies is to buy cool, casual shoes as a memorable souvenir that best captures the destination. “The ladies in my family like to travel together,” Sanders shares. “We were vacationing in the Italian village where my family is from and I wanted a keepsake. So I went looking for a unique pair of Supergas.” After traveling all around Italy, and clocking in significant hours shopping in Rome, Sanders finally found a pair. “But, I was still left wanting something more graphic and indigenous to the beauty of Italy,” she says. “This led to the beginning of Landmarks.” 

With idyllic stomping grounds of her own in Sarasota, the idea to create a shoe brand that proudly represents the area—while also enticing visitors to bring back a wearable souvenir—came to be. Her local footwear line Landmarks Shoes creates a destination twist on the classic tennis shoe by screen-printing the canvas material with colorful graphics and images, inspired by scenic snapshots of Siesta Key beaches. “We live in a vacation paradise, so I thought, why not make a shoe with images that are representative of what makes Sarasota such a special location?” she says. Armed with a brand new Nikon 5300 camera, Sanders found local graphic designer Shelby Westlake of Johnson Photography to help with the graphic design process and finalize images for production.Now to find a shoemaker. After contacting numerous  manufacturers and attending trade shows across the country, the MAGIC Fashion Trade Show in Las Vegas came through. “We sat down and started the process of creating the right shoe for our vision,” she says. The manufacturing of Landmarks Shoes utilizes a printing process that allows the image to remain on the shoe without fading or losing integrity, using inks that are infused into the fabric before the shoe is constructed. The top of the shoe is created with a template and the images are printed based on shoe size. The soles are made from a special mold and each component of the shoe is assembled by hand, piece by piece. “It was important for us to create a quality shoe that is both comfortable and trendy looking,” she says. 

The Beach Collection marks the first series of shoes released by Landmarks, featuring three designs: ‘Red Tower,’ showing off the iconic red lifeguard stand out front of Siesta Key Pavilion; ‘Siesta Graffiti,’ a vintage postcard image enticing tourists to “the No. 1 Beach in America”; and, ‘Sunset,’ a shot of the quintessential Gulf Coast eventide. But there are plans to create scenes beyond the beach. “We’ve had a variety of requests and love the idea of supporting specific causes,” says Sanders, like a shoe for breast cancer awareness. “As we continue to grow, I see our shoes in many locations with images that are hyper-specific to that area.”  

Landmarks Shoes is carried locally at: Molly's - A Chic & Unique Boutique, Comfort Shoes Siesta Key, Fleet Feet, Gidget's Coastal Provisions, Bridge Street Beach Bazaar, Apricot Lane Boutique and Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe/Gift Shop., @landmarksshoes, 844-746-3777.