Edmonton student athlete running successful side business designing custom shoes

It was almost two years ago that Cassandra Grenke used her Christmas money to buy what she needed to start designing custom shoes.

She got the idea from different Instagram accounts in the U.S.

“I have… definitely an artistic side,” said Grenke, who is a record-breaking hurdles athlete with the University of Alberta. “I did a pair for myself —  just kind of see how this turns out — and it turned out pretty good.

“My boyfriend actually was like ‘You should look in to doing it, this is really good, people will buy it.’”

That was when she decided to launch Kicks by Cass on Instagram. And people did buy — she’s now sold upwards of 60 pairs of shoes.

She does designs of all kinds, from simple shading with colour, to flowers, and even intricate characters.

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Grenke receives the shoes from her buyers, almost as a security deposit, and then delivers them with the design. She’s done shoes for people all across Alberta, Saskatchewan, B.C., Manitoba and even a couple requests from the Northwest Territories.

“It’s all people who have found my page through friends of friends of friends,” said Grenke.

Read more: Edmonton-raised artist Tim Okamura creates portrait series honouring health-care workers

And she represents Kicks by Cass on the track when she’s running the 60-metre hurdles.

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“I have a little storm trooper on the heel of my spikes that I race in.”

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