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The co-founders John and Claudia Cobian learned the craft and the art of sandal design and sandal manufacturing based on a generational heritage. John Cobian's godfather founded Calzaletas in the Mexican state of Jalisco in the early 1950s. Soon, Calzaletas, known for its "fisherman sandals", became the largest supplier in Mexico, producing over 20 million pairs of shoes a year. The growing surf culture in the early '80s led to a high demand for sandals in the US. Inspired by the growing marketplace, John improved the original Calzaletas design and created the unique Cobian footwear.