22 Jan 2017

Shoes from trash

From The Weekend, 9:30 am on 22 January 2017

Ben Galloway set up Trash Footwear a few years ago in Auckland.  At the moment though he's in Australia, honing his cobbling skills.

Galloway is second generation shoe maker, his father ran a shoe making business in Raglan for 40 years.

He’s now using his skills to work making new shoes from waste materials.

And he’s employing materials that other industries throw away.

"I’ve tried to uncover these waste streams and package them into a practical, wearable everyday product."

He says many of the shoes he makes are about 93 percent recycled.

He uses conveyor belts, motor cycle and car tyres for the soles. And makes uppers from a diverse range of materials including denim, corduroy, upholstery leather and fabric and seatbelts.

“I even used coffee sacks for some of my jandals,” he says.  

But he says leather is still first choice for uppers and there is a good supply from the upholstery business.

“It’s industrial ecology! Upholsterers make large things and I make small things. They have large offcuts and those offcuts are more than big enough for me to make quite a few shoes.”