Remember how we were contacted by several corporates after news articles were published on our project? One such contact came from the footwear team at Reebok India. They wanted to know if Conserve India could make upcycled shoes.
Turns out the Conserve India crew have been testing shoe designs for quite a while now – even creating samples – using a wide range of discarded materials from tyre tubes to seatbelts and handmade recycled plastic (shopping bags). Here’s a sneak preview of a few of their styles:
I particularly love the HRP sandals, with the sherbety pinks and pastel blues of the original shopping bags. Yep, that’s right, no inks or dyes are added during the production process, the single-use shopping bags are simply layered to create the desired shades. Which ones do you like?
Conserve is not yet producing shoes commercially, as they are waiting to move to a new purpose built factory in Bahadurgah on Delhi’s west (more on that soon). But the partnership interest from Reebok definitely presents new and exciting possibilities for a profitable upcycled shoe range – we’ll let you know how it progresses.
In the meantime, I got to wondering if there were any other upcycling or socially responsible shoe manufacturers already selling products. Here’s what I found with a quick internet search:
- Simple Shoes – check out their impressive range of recycled and sustainable materials
- Tom’s Shoes – not so much a focus on environmental considerations (although they do have a vegan range), but they’re tackling a global social challenge with a great model – for every pair of shoes sold by this US company a pair is given to a child who needs them. And by the looks of their website, the idea is gathering a lot of support…
- Etiko – award winning, Aussie company making shoes from sustainable materials and working with fairtrade suppliers
So, dear readers, a few ways to go forth, flex your consumer muscle…
…and tread lightly. If you know of any other companies doing good things in footwear we’d love to hear about it.