Aly and Beth Khalifa have a vision: to “establish the new cutting edge of sustainability.” They’re doing it by creating products that can be easily broken down, repaired, or recycled and they’re starting with a simple pair of shoes. Called LYF, these odd-looking clogs are completely recyclable and can be repaired by anyone with a rudimentary grasp of fabric cutting and whittling.
These $150 shoes have one solid piece – a main connector – that holds down the outer shell and holds on the sole.
“Having worked in footwear, I have been exposed to nasty solvents like Toluene, which are used to assemble most footwear. These glues are bad for factory workers, bad for the planet, and ultimately prevent the shoes from being recycled,” said Aly. “We decided to address this head-on with a mechanical assembly and were inspired by Japanese Joinery which creates famously strong structures without glue or fasteners. Once we established the modular mechanical approach to making shoes, it allowed us to escape the centralized manufacturing model all together. In fact it allows us to make shoes in places as small and intimate as a retail shop.”
The company is based in Raleigh, North Carolina and aims to sell their shoes online and in stores. Their Kickstarter page is live now.
“Our product is made on-demand for the consumer and establishes the new cutting edge of sustainability. Our process utilizes the latest digital techniques to make truly custom footwear. Not only do we reduce our waste and carbon footprint in the way we make our product, but it is designed for disassembly so that we can keep it out of the landfill and allow them to be LYF-Cycled into new shoes,” said Aly.
If you wanted to repair these shoes you’d simply find the patterns and cut out, say, a new upper or build a new sole (eventually) on a 3D printer. While full recyclability is still a long way off, Aly sees these shoes as a way to empower small business to create, customize and maintain LYF Shoes. While I doubt these kicks will hit Air Dunk levels of popularity, it’s nice to know you can take these into the machine shop and come out with a nearly new pair.