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Chicago-based footwear brand Bucketfeet officially opens its first Washington, D.C. retail studio today in the city’s vibrant Shaw neighborhood (1924 8th Street NW). The 914-square foot space, designed and conceptualized by New York-based firm M Crown, sells the brand’s signature slip-on and lace-up sneakers, which feature exclusive, limited-run prints and motifs designed by a global network of over 40,000 artists from more than 120 countries. The new D.C. retail studio also features a custom graphic mural by local artist and community muralist MasPaz. In addition to its new D.C. location, Bucketfeet also has two retail studios in Chicago and has been sold in more than 15 countries.

Through its responsive commerce business model, Bucketfeet — with shoes ranging in price from $62 to $148 for men, women and children — gives artists the opportunity to receive royalties for their accepted shoe designs, which are manufactured exclusively for Bucketfeet. There’s a different artist and a different story behind every shoe, bolstering Bucketfeet’s mission to create a brighter world by sparking conversations that bring people together, create mutual respect, foster shared understanding and, thus, build a better world.

Bucketfeet receives up to 1,000 artwork submissions each week. The Bucketfeet team considers each submission and allows its online audience to vote on a favorite. Designs and materials for Bucketfeet sneakers range from high-quality screenprints and embossing to premium leather and canvas.

Bucketfeet first took shape in Argentina, when artist Aaron Firestein (Bucketfeet co-founder and Chief Artist) sold a pair of hand-drawn shoes to fellow traveler Raaja Nemani (Bucketfeet co-founder and CEO). Nemani’s pair of customized shoes ignited conversations throughout his subsequent world travels across 30 countries and ultimately led him and Firestein to conceive the idea for Bucketfeet.

That interaction between two then-strangers led to not only an innovative business partnership, but a nearly 100% direct-to-consumer business model and more than 600,000 social media followers.

“When we started this journey five years ago with a pair of sneakers and an idea, we were amazed that something as simple as a pair of shoes could spark such meaningful conversations and connections,” Nemani says. “We’re confident that our arrival in Washington, with its strong creative and civic-minded communities, will spark even more meaningful interactions and further our mission to make this world both brighter and better.”

Bucketfeet is a Chicago-based footwear brand founded by Raaja Nemani and Aaron Firestein in 2011, after a chance encounter in Argentina. Bucketfeet collaborates with more than 40,000 artists from 120 countries through a responsive commerce business model to create artist-designed shoes that spark conversations with the mission to create a brighter world. Artists have the opportunity to receive royalties for their custom artwork, which is designed and manufactured exclusively for Bucketfeet footwear. Bucketfeet has retail studio locations in Chicago and Washington, D.C. and has been sold in more than 15 countries. For more information, visit

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