8000Kicks hemp shoes opened in 2018 after founder Bernardo Carreira finished his business studies at Purdue University. He decided to make use of his grandmother Maria Otilia’s 50 years of experience in the textile industry and launch a sneaker company with her.

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“We had no money and no experience, so we went to the only place where they would take two dreamers like us: Kickstarter,” said Carreira.

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After surpassing the Kickstarter goal of $10,000 by accidentally raising $250,000, grandmother and grandson pair knew they had a real company on their hands. While most sneakers add carbon to the air through plastic manufacturing, these hemp shoes actually pull carbon from the air. But the duo didn’t want to create just any shoe, they wanted to create a shoe for an active traveler who use their shoes heavily.

Wax and a waterproof membrane make sure that water stays out of these shoes to keep them in great shape. Outsoles are made from lightweight algae. Here are more features that set the 8000Kicks shoes apart:

  • Super Durable: Hemp was once used to make ropes, ship sails and even some of Ford’s cars.
  • Super comfortable: The world’s 1st hemp insole.
  • Ecological: Because they use a hemp upper instead of cotton/polyester, the shoe fibers need 70% less water and emits 72% less CO2.
  • Vegan and biodegradable: The shoe is made from vegetal fibers, including its glue that is made from water. 
  • Anti bacterial: A natural property of hemp fiber.
  • Lightweight and flexible: A unique algae outsole makes the shoes lighter than a phone.

“The hemp sourcing is the most challenging because hemp crops are harvested only in the summer, then our suppliers need to process the fiber, spin the yarn, woven the fabric to our specific requirements, and only then we are ready to make the shoes,” Otilia said.

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Images via 8000Kicks