BENGALURU: If you are someone who believes in sustainabile living and are looking for alternatives in footwears, here’s a new trend you have got to catch up with.
Footwear made from truck tyres and aeroplane tyres is an upcoming fad in haute couture.
What started out as a small platform to help better the lives of cobblers is now edging towards being a style trend.
Paaduks is a Mumbai-based company making soles out of tyres. Jey Rege, co-founder of Paaduks says, “When we started out, we realised that the cobblers and their families are plagued with many financial and social problems”.
It was quite challenging for the team to make cobblers work on scrap tyres. “Tyres are difficult to cut,when compared to other commercially available soles. Many cobblers we spoke to were reluctant to work with us,” says the 41-year-old.
Once the team got a few cobblers to work with them, they were faced with the task of producing good designs. They were helped by full time designer Carol D Souza, 28, who curated the designs.
Jey states that sales are always a challenge.
Paaduks market regularly in The Little Flea held in Mumbai and also sell their products on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. “Social media has helped us reach out to a pan-India audience pretty fast, especially the eco socio-conscious audience, who value ethical products.” says Jey. The team initially began experimenting with truck tyres, but soon after they explored the possibilities of making footwear from the soles of airline tyres.
“We mostly use the side walls of the tyres as soles. These side walls are chiseled out to make them flat and then cut using a metal die (and a clicker machine) in the shape of a sole.” he says. “ We use airline tyres as well. We actually found some at the scrap dealer from whom we source tyres and decided to give them a try. But these days those are a little difficult to get.”
Their footwears are not potentially inspired from anything. They are modelled to go handy with Indian ethnic wear. They also look good with a pair of jeans, if you try. They are presently working with three cobblers in Mumbai. The Paaduks don’t have an outlet per se but have selected retail shops in different cities selling their footwear.
Jay mentions that most of their sales happens ‘online’. When asked about the customer reception in Bengaluru, he says, “Bengaluru has our largest customer base. Almost 25% of our online orders come from the city - about 500 per year.”
Although they could not entirely elevate the living conditions of the cobblers, they are working to provide them clean environment and a stable, fair income.
The crowd that visits Paaduks’ stalls are always in awe, says Jey.
“People are more fascinated by our designs, colour combinations, and comfort than the fact that the soles come from used tyres.” adds Jey.