Companies We Admire: Indosole

Indosole creates footwear from repurposed tires – an idea that came to the company’s founders while surfing in Bali, Indonesia in 2004. After witnessing first-hand the impact environmental issues had on the people there, the group decided to create a product with a purpose to help combat the pollution problem in Indonesia. With the help of local artisans and a little imagination, they began transforming waste into something both fashionable and functional. 

Indosole creates their full line of products using a toxic-free, environmentally responsible production process. There is no melting, off gassing or reforming of any material used. The company works closely with the local Indonesian artisans to bring the footwear to life – from design to product creation. Their goal? To save 1 million tires from overflowing and overcrowded Indonesian landfills. 

Q&A 

What drives your company to continue making the products you do, in the way that you do? 
We believe that repurposing is the next level in a movement started by recycling and is absolutely essential in this day and age. The human race is pushing the Earth to the limit in terms of resource consumption, and creating tons of waste. As a society that craves newness it’s important to find ways to incorporate the old into the new, to prevent waste from piling up and putting extra strain on our environment. 

By continuing to make products the way we do, we hope it will inspire more brands to find creative ways to repurpose or upcycle. The fashion industry has begun to move in this direction and needs to continue to do so. 

What makes your company unique? 
Around the world, people from Latin America to Asia to Africa have tried using tires as soles for footwear – we’re not the only ones to do this. What makes us unique is the fact that we’re concerned not only about the comfort and functionality of our tire sole footwear, but also about it being fashionable. 

We design with the hope that our sandals and shoes appeal to a wide range of people with different fashion sensibilities and lifestyles. Rather than being an “eco-brand” we want to be a fashion brand that also happens to be eco-minded. 

Tell us more about your core mission and principles. 
Our core mission is to prevent 1 million tires from ending up in Indonesian landfills. Tires do not decompose and there is not much use for vulcanized rubber either. By repurposing waste tires as soles, we are giving tires new life and keeping them from piling up in landfills or illegal dumping sites, becoming breeding grounds for mosquitos or used for much worse. 

We also make a point to find as many ways as possible to reuse waste, such as using 100% recycled cardboard boxes for packaging and making canvas bags lined with repurposed rice sacks. We hope to add to the list as time goes on. 

What does environmental responsibility mean to you? 
Environmental responsibility lies with each individual. People shouldn’t feel pressured to overhaul their lifestyle completely, but there is a need for each of us to be more cognizant of the little things we do that add to the problem. Are we using plastic bags or buying bottled water without thinking twice about it? Are we choosing face wash with microbeads in it? Do we allow our sandwich to get wrapped even though we’re just headed across the street to eat it? These little things add up. 

It’s also our responsibility to “vote with our wallets” – to show that we appreciate and prefer it when businesses go the extra mile. If more people supported brands that create packaging from post-consumer materials, have a trade-in program or upcyle, businesses would be motivated to find ways to make their processes and products more eco-friendly. 

Learn more about Indosole at www.indosole.com.