SHOEMAKER Aliston Hastie, who founded the radical Green Shoes shop in 1981, has retired after four decades at the helm.

Alison and a team of self-taught shoemakers set up the original workshop in Totnes 41 years ago, where they fashioned handcrafted repairable, genderless shoes and boots shaped to fit each individual customer.

As well as wanting to make shoes that will be well loved and long worn, Green Shoes has worked to ensure that as many shoes as possible – both theirs and others – are re-soled and repaired in a bid to extend their usefulness and limit their impact on the environment.

Alison is proud of the fact each pair of Green Shoes is a little rebellion against throwaway footwear.

Since its inception, the company has operated on a personalised basis. Customers feet are measures and assessed, then the team of shoemakers can advise on which styles and materials will best suit the customer’s needs.

By running in this way, building up knowledge of a person’s feet and requirements, Green Shoes has developed many special relationships with its wearers.

Alison has been involved in, almost, every pair made in the last 41 years - a rare achievement for any maker to claim.

She is passing the reins of the business over to a small but established team of shoemakers who plan to operate it as an employee run enterprise.

Alison said: “I’m delighted to leave Green Shoes in the safe hands of Kim, Ed, Sarah, Rachel and Agnes, ensuring the continuation of Green Shoes as a local craft business making long lasting, repairable shoes and providing local, skilled jobs.

“It has been a life-long passion working in shoemaking and I feel privileged to have been able to spend these years of my life doing something I believe in.

“And over the years the way we work together has become greater than the sum of its parts.”

Green Shoes moved to Buckfastleigh and then, in 2013, Alison moved the shop and workshop to a converted chapel in Cross Street, Moretonhampstead, where it remains today.

From this base on north Dartmoor, Green Shoes has continued to make handcrafted, foot-shaped shoes and boots to be worn in the every day, for navigating terrains both local and global.

Enduringly unique as a destination for hand-made footwear, Alison has built Green Shoes into a business that is evermore relevant in today’s world and she hopes will continue to thrive after her departure.