21
Jan
09

Introducing One Of The World’s Greenest Shoes

How befitting for me to be writing about ‘tube shoes’ on Shoetube.com. These basketball-style trainers might look like any other casual sports-inspired footwear, thrown together in some far eastern sweatshop, but looks can be deceiving.

District Line (1990s)

District Line (1990s)

In fact, these shoes couldn’t be further away in concept, production and ethics, than most of their sports shoe relations.
The brainchild of Central St Martins College grad Robert Taylor and film-maker/promoter Caroline Read, who formed above+belowlondon as the consumer face of their work in the corporate social responsibility sector, the ‘tube shoe’ is crafted from ‘vintage’ restored London Underground and Bus seat moquette (that’s upholstery to you and I).
Their eco credentials don’t stop there however. The soles are made from 33% salvaged tyre rubber from London buses, and the 100% recycled leather trim is ingeniously fashioned from a consignment of cheque book wallets previously destined for landfill.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the uppers might be a tad past their sell-by date, and smelling not entirely of all things sugar and spice . . . after all, there are only so many derrières (around 3 million per day on the Underground) that can perch on you before you start to whiff a little! And that’s before you factor in the hardcore wear and tear suffered at the hands of late night revellers . . . puking and peeing their way home after winding on one too many!

Matching feet and seats

Matching feet and seats

Fortunately, the fabric used is handpicked and scrupulously cleaned and restored to its former, but perhaps somewhat faded, glory before the real skill begins. Made by artisans, in 2 small hillside family-run factories in Portugal, the manufacturing process is simple and thoughtful of the surrounding environment. And the results . . . unique form AND function.
The shoes are a talking point. Who knows how many famous bottoms have adorned your ‘Central Line’ or Picadilly Line’ pair? And my favourites? . . . well its not the ‘Northern Line’ – too many years with my face pressed up against commuters’ stinky armpits, put paid to that; but I do love the ‘Westwood’ version. Perhaps not as practical, but oh so Viv!

The Westwood take on things

The Westwood take on things

This quirky footwear doesn’t come cheap at £90 a pair, but for the price tag you get industrial chic shoes with a twist, and if that isn’t enough . . . above+belowlondon pledge to donate a tree for each pair sold.
With doggie coats available too, and a range of bags planned, could ‘tube accessories’ be the next big trend for all cool eco-urbanites?
Buy online at: urbanremade

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