Footwear has come a long way in being both eco-friendly as well as cost-effective. But, we are yet to find any single solution that can overthrow the reign of plastics. If we could manage to make this one accessory less polluting, the impact on the environment would be massive. That is exactly what this pair of grandson and grandmother had in mind when they started their shoe company.
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In 2018, Bernardo Carreira had just completed studying for his business degree at Purdue University. His grandmother, Maria Otilia had almost 50 years of experience working with textiles. So he came up with 8000kicks – a shoe company that makes sneakers out of hemp. With his grandmother’s first-hand wisdom and his modern business skill, the company had a solid foundation.
The Start Was Tough For The Shoe Company
But there was a problem for the pair. They did not have enough capital to start off. So they went to Kickstarter, a place that is built for dreamers like them. Carreira said that not only did they not have any money, but they also lacked first-hand experience of running a business like this.
They set a $10,000 goal for their Kickstarter campaign. Lo and behold, the total amount raised came to be a whopping $250,000. That is when the pair realized that this shoe company was not just a dream – it was a proper business idea that can be successful.
The majority of sneakers today involve a plastic manufacturing process that increases the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. But the sneakers from 8000kicks actually absorb carbon and, thus, reduce its amount in the atmosphere.
But the environmental benefit was not the only thing on the pair’s mind. They also wanted their shoe to be durable and comfortable. The pair hoped that even active travelers who made heavy use of their shoes would rate their product highly.
How The Shoes Help The Environment
The first problem with making anything out of hemp is that they do not fare well with water. So 8000kicks make use of a special waterproof membrane and wax to ensure the shoes retain their great shape, no matter how much water there is. Hemp is not the only organic material, either. Algae which is especially light is used to make the outsoles.
The use of hemp makes it extremely durable. Since ancient times, hemp was the original material used for ropes and sails of ships. So, you can understand how durable they are. Furthermore, the use of hemp rather than the usual polyester/cotton means that water consumption is reduced by 70% and Co2 by 72% while the fibers are processed.
The material also makes the shoes entirely biodegradable. The glue is also made from water. Finally, the hemp shoes are very lightweight, lighter than some phones!
According to Otilia, sourcing hemp has been the toughest challenge. They do not process the hemp. Their suppliers process the raw crops and weave the fibers, which are used in making their shoes.
Article Image Credits: 8000Kicks