When Kyle Parsons was walking the streets of Bali in 2004, one of his flip flops fell apart. Barefoot, Parsons went looking for a pair that really represented Bali. What he found was a pair with uppers made of grass and soles made of motorbike tires.
"I was really intrigued by the concept and started doing some research about tire pollution," Parsons said. "I found that it's actually a really big problem across the world. Over 1.5 billion tires end up in a landfill each year."
The next time Parsons, of San Francisco, returned to Bali, he was set on finding a factory that would go into business with him. Together, he and the factory created a three-step process of die cutting the side walls of tires—Bridgestones, Dunlops, Good Years, you name it—into soles. They made a few models for men and a few for women to sell under the name Indosole.
As things evolved, Parsons wanted his new company to be the best it could be. First, he decided that all the materials used should be thoughtfully sourced, good for the environment, have a non-toxic process, and that the workers should be well taken care of. This landed him a B-Corp certification.
Then, Parsons decided that instead of leaving behind scraps, he could use 100 percent of the tire if he found a way to grind down the rubber into a fine powder and melt it into soles.
Today, TK models of shoes are made up of:
- Soles are 100 percent recycled tire mixed with 40 percent recycled EVA (ethylene-vinylacetate copolymer) and calcium deposits
- Uppers are natural rubber mixed with EVA
- Straps are a material called enviro fiber, which is made without water and is used by only four other footwear brands in the world
Find Indosole at VO336-SL.