From sea to shoe

Designers have found a way to produce a stylish shoe from waste that’s recovered from the sea. The multi-coloured sneakers also serve to illustrate the problem of the vast quantities of waste that’s discarded every day into our oceans.

Recently, a young designer’s solution to sea waste was presented: a kind of giant floating vacuum cleaner for the huge quantities of (mostly) floating plastic drifts. But what can you do with the material once it’s been recovered?

Young designers William Gubbins,Charles Duffy and Billy Turvey set about collecting rubbish – mostly plastic waste – that was salvaged from the sea and washed up on the shores of the UK.

Starting from the idea that a pair of shoes is only worn for a tiny fraction of its lifetime, the designers decided to challenge this prime example of the consumerist ideal.

After cleaning the plastic waste, the group slowly melding the material. Reshaping it into soles, uppers and even laces, the sections were assembled into shoes. The final product is a cheerful sneaker that nevertheless carries an important message. We clearly need to do far more to protect our seas from all the waste that we dump in them.

This counts in particular for plastic, which constitutes around 80% of all ocean waste.

The ‘rubbish’ shoe is a small step, and a very attractive one. Ocean waste is a huge problem. Besides the obvious environmental concerns, there are less common issues. For instance, the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was hindered by floating rubbish. There are economical worries too. For much more on the health of our oceans, have a look here.


Info and images via the designers: William GubbinsCharles Duffy and Billy Turvey. Here’s a link to their project “Everything is Rubbish”.