Above: Inside Trujillo’s Shoe Shop. Photographs by Inga Hendrickson.

At Trujillo’s Shoe Shop, in Española, the aromas of glue and leather hit you first. Age-furrowed footwear lines the shelves just behind the counter, and machinery for replacing zippers and for sewing welts to soles is toward the back. The smell, though, is what makes customers reminisce about the old days when shoes weren’t so easily replaceable. Reynaldo Trujillo calls ours a throwaway culture, and the dwindling number of shoe repair shops like his, once a staple of every town, is but a symptom.

Despite the shift, his shop and its distinct aroma have remained constant since the 1960s, when the doors first opened under Reynaldo’s predecessor, Ben Trejo. Reynaldo and his father both worked for Trejo, and in 1984 Reynaldo took over the business under his own name. Now he stands beside his 30-year-old son, Marcos, who, wearing a stained denim apron and a Portland Trail Blazers hat, is primed to take over the family business. He’s an assistant to the mero mero (colloquially, the “big cheese”), not to mention the unofficial “social media specialist,” running the shop’s popping Instagram page (@trujillosshoeshop).

Reynaldo and Marcos Trujillo inside Trujillo’s Shoe Shop.Above: Reynaldo and Marcos Trujillo inside Trujillo’s Shoe Shop.

For resident cowboys and ranchers, Marcos and Reynaldo will weatherize boots—wipe clean, scrub with saddle soap, condition, wax, and polish them, in that order—and replace old leather outsoles. For the Pueblo dancers who stop in when feast days begin, the duo can repair and re-dye moccasins. For the local hotshot firefighters, they can overhaul boots with new Vibram soles just in time for fire season. And for the women who come in with a broken heel, they can handily attach a new one. “I’ve been called a shoe doctor,” Reynaldo says of the “surgeries” he’s performed in his time. By the same token, a simple shoe polish is $6. But note: They keep it old school. Bring cash or a check.

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Trujillo’s Shoe Shop
423 N. Riverside Drive, Suite B, Española;
(505) 753-5831