by Fernando Peña, President of Julieta


I have practiced orthopedic surgery for 19 years and specialize in foot and ankle pathology. I have helped a large number of patients to eliminate pain from their feet, improve their gait and quality of life.


But believe it or not, after all those years, I did not have a clue that when women wear most heels, they are in pain! It was not until I married my wife, Julie, that I learned this. She made me aware of the discomfort and difficulties women go through to wear fashionable heels. I was impressed and at the same time horrified to learn what some women are willing to go through for the sake of looking stylish or sometimes to simply meet the dress code of their jobs. She challenged me to find a quality, attractive looking shoe, that at the same time would be comfortable.


It goes without saying that she already extensively searched for them herself without success. She was right—there was nothing out there in the market. We decided this was a problem that needed to be solved for the sake of all women who want to wear heels. We were confident that between both of us, we had the expertise to design a comfortable shoe that was also attractive.


When we started this adventure, we did not know where to start, where to go or who to talk to. We attempted many contacts in Spain—my home country, and a country with a long legacy of quality shoe making. We failed many times, we got discouraged many times. And it was not until we connected with Alejandro Aviles that wheels started moving. We definitely spoke the same language from the very early stages. We were both excited about making something different, while utilizing high-quality materials for the shoe.


Alejandro Aviles in his workshop in Spain. | Julieta | The most comfortable heels ever.


We searched the market again. We studied and analyzed the few shoes out there whose main purpose is to address comfort for women’s feet. Many attempts and prototypes were created. My knowledge in orthopedics directed the construction of the first prototype. Julie tried the early ones and directed the modifications and changes to make the shoes more comfortable.


Eventually we expanded the testing to women in our social circle who have needs for wearing heels as well. More feedback was collected and more changes were made. Alejandro hung in there with us through all those changes and modifications. Frustration occasionally built up, but the excitement and pride of a different and better product overcame any other feelings and thoughts.


A careful selection of materials and colors took place and production started in Spain. Eventually the shoes arrived in Minneapolis. Now it was official and real! We have trained much of our lives to be doctors, clinicians, health care providers. To be scientists, analyze data, make recommendations to patients and see them get better. We had no idea how to run a business—infrastructure, websites, stock, and the list goes on and on. We learned fast, sometimes very fast and not by choice, but by necessity.


A team of marketing and social media experts was assembled. They started working non-stop even before we launched Julieta. We continue to be blessed by their commitment and the expertise they have injected into Julieta. Three years later, we believe we have a very different and superior product from what the current market offers.


For the past few months since we launched Julieta, we have been observing the changes and progress we have made, but overall, we have a deeply tremendous sense of satisfaction on what we have created so far.


We truly hope to make a significant difference for many women. You all deserve it. We are not trying to convert women to wear heels, but for those who wear them regularly, we want them to be comfortable, confident, and proud of being who they are. We truly hope that Julieta will be the first step in the shoe industry toward a true different concept where luxury and comfort can coexist in the same shoe. It’s about time.