Let’s be honest: Bowling shoes don’t carry much sartorial heft outside the annual Lebowski Fest, especially in Los Angeles. Unless, of course, George Esquivel is crafting them. The Angeleno cobbler, who designs handmade shoes for the likes of Emma Stone, LeBron James and Kings of Leon, has teamed up with L.A.’s latest “it” lounge and gaming parlor/bowling alley, the Spare Room, for a collection of bowlers that live up to the Gilded Age palace that the lounge owners built for the sport.
“The first thing you think of when you think of bowling is ’60s kitsch, which is great, but we found there’s an elegance to it, and we wanted to highlight that,” says Spare Room co-founder Marc Rose. With the help of business partner Med Abrous — who discovered the spare storage room at the Roosevelt Hotel when he was running the bars there — and L.A. design firm Studio Collective, the two sourced everything from walnut-and-suede board-game sets, custom leather booths and nailhead tables, and matte-black AMF bowling balls to get the perfect vibe around their pair of maple-and-pine lanes, which were recently featured on the last season of Entourage. The only thing left were the shoes, which Esquivel crafted in various styles (tasseled kilties, striped shoes with a spare slash, two-tone saddle oxfords) and colors (blue, purple, black, white) with more collections to come (like a gold pair for the first person who bowls a 300). Esquivel x Spare Room bowling shoes, $700, available at the Spare Room, (323) 769-7296, www.spareroomhollywood.com