Afterheels: eco-shoe salvation for women
October 20, 2010
Girls rejoice! Salvation has arrived in the form of biodegradable ballet flats dispensed from venue vending machines as an antidote to the agony of wearing heels on a Big Night Out. As we breathe a collective sigh of relief, we ask “Why did no one think of this before?”
Our thanks go to Michael Stead, British inventor, who came up with the idea after a friend's holiday was ruined following a heel-related misadventure. After conducting careful consultation with podiatrists and hundreds of traumatized women, he concluded that what was needed was a post-heel flat shoe that would look great, be comfortable, provide sufficient protection from broken glass or other sharps, fit in a handbag, and cost very little.
Adding his own conscientious desire for the product to biodegrade, and with the help of some aerospace and military scientists, Michael created Afterheels – a small shoe with a natural material waterproof outer layer that biodegrades in the same time as an oak leaf, and a soft, protective flock-lined insole made from locally sourced and manufactured recyclable #5 polypropylene.
They even come with a mini duffel bag made from a low density polyethylene (LDPE) for you to carry your heels home in, and Afterheels aims to start a returns scheme for people in those areas that cannot recycle plastic #5. The company is also looking into a greener alternative to the LDPE.
Michael Stead, known as Michael Shoomaker to his friends, uses old cigarette vending machines to deploy the ballet flats in a box the same size as a cigarette carton. You can buy Afterheels direct, or from machines ready installed in UK nightclubs in Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield for the modest sum of £5 (US$8).
Michael, we salute you.