Meet 8000Kicks, the waterproof cannabis sneaker startup. The friends behind 8000Kicks first started company with one vision in mind, to build the coolest shoes that was eco-friendly, made from vegan materials, waterproof and still accessible to everyone. They may be on the verge of doing just that.
Below is a Q&A with Bernardo Carreira, founder of 8000Kicks. Bernardo is a former semi professional football player and studied at Purdue University, Zhejiang University, and Emlyon Business School.
How did you decide to start 8000Kicks and make a cannabis sneaker?
It all started one year ago. We wanted to create something ecological, vegan, and cool. We were not really sure what and how. Then we were all a bit high and someone suggested we make a cannabis shoes. At the time I was not sure it was even possible. After a few months and many many suppliers later we finally found one that made exactly what we needed.
Our first idea was not to make a sneaker, but actually a formal shoe. But than we quickly dropped the idea and started working in something we would use. Something we could be proud and something cool enough to make people opt in for a “green sneaker”. A few iterations later 8000Kicks was born 😀
What are Cannabis sneakers? Are the shoes made from actually cannabis?
So cannabis has two main branches, marijuana and hemp. The first one is the one everyone knows about, the illegal one, the drug. Hemp is the sober cousin, it is super strong, very ecological, and it was once a very important fiber that was cultivated by George Washington himself to make ropes and sails.
After WW2 and the war on drugs, Hemp was put on the illegal bag together with cannabis. Also the cotton and paper industry lobbied to ban it back in the day. Nowadays it is coming back. People start to understand that benefits on cannabis, both marijuana and hemp.
Nowadays Hemp is legal everywhere in the world, but heavily regulated for its similarities with Marijuana. Hemp is starting to be used once again to make apparel, car parts and many other things because of its big advantages.
So, our shoes are made of hemp which is a cannabis branch.
The apparel industry is one of the largest polluters in the world. How do these sneakers prevent more pollution?
Great question. This is definitely a challenge. Here’s what we did:
- We choose eco-friendly materials instead of polyester and other plastics.
- We don’t plant trees. We plant cannabis. The more people support us the more we are helping farmers and this plant succeed as an alternative to other materials.
- Cannabis consumes 3x less water than cotton and it is soil friendly
- We use recycled soles from old shoes which would otherwise be filling landfills or worst in our oceans.
- We use cork insoles. Cork grows on oak trees and regenerates every nine years. It is a super material like hemp
What other items can cannabis hemp fabric be used for? Are there plans to make more styles of sneakers and other apparel?
Great question. Ford once built a Hemp car that ran on hemp oil. George Washington would sell it to make sails and ropes. Lately I have seen shirts, socks, underwear, paper, but most of them very early stage projects.
Related Story: A New Category of Functional Sustainable Footwear is Being Created From Cannabis Hemp Fibers
- Meet the Sustainable Cooler Startup Leading the Transition From Plastic Foam to Natural Fiber Packaging
- Retirement Planning, ESG Investing, & Mental Health Awareness
- Meet Steward, the Innovative Online Lending Platform Helping Fund the Growth of Regenerative Agriculture
- ESG & the Transformation of Business Education in the Fashion Industry
- 5 Ethical Coffee Brands You Can Shop Online
Grant is the founder of Causeartist, one of the most influential impact business platforms in the world. Since 2013, Causeartist has been read in over 200 countries. Grant has personally interviewed over 600 impact entrepreneurs from around the world, highlighting innovations in ethical fashion, climate change, ethical technology, impact investing, and sustainable travel.