Lee W. Risler Handcrafted Leather Sandals
Lee Risler has been handcrafting leather sandals since 1963. In the sixties Lee handcrafted leather purses and wallets under the name of LeeGin Leather. After selling that very successful company in the early seventies, he traveled around the world surfing and creating his own Endless Summer. He settled for two years in New Zealand.
After seeing the world he chose to settle in a small town in the California desert, a quiet community, located near the Big Bear Mountains. He resides there today, handcrafting leather sandals and raising three children with his wife .
In March 2000, Lee was side swiped by a hit and run driver and knocked off a Los Angeles freeway. He was trapped in his car by his left arm, for three days before he was rescued by a Caltrans worker. His family was frantically searching for him, but were unable to find him because his car was hidden by dense trees that line the freeways. On the second day of his entrapment he self amputated three fingers and his thumb in an effort to free him self from the wreckage. He was within hours of death when he was rescued. Because of his severe dehydration and renal failure he was in critical condition when he arrived at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood. After his rescue, doctors were unable to save his left arm that was damaged in the accident and his left arm was amputated above the elbow.
Lee has made a remarkable receovery and despite the amputation of his left arm, continues to handcraft his leather sandals with the help of his wife Bryn and his son Rhett. His spirit is strong and cheerful, and he is happy to be alive to continue doing the work that he enjoys: making handcrafted leather sandals for his customers to enjoy.