Hemp Shoes: How One Company Is Using Cannabis To Save The World With Eco Friendly Fashion – Interview With 8000Kicks



Check out 8000Kicks latest release regarding their line of Hemp Backpacks on Kickstarter here.

Our team recently came across 8000Kicks, an ecofriendly, hemp-made shoe brand with a new line of kicks launching on Tuesday September 22 2020! We had the chance to sit down with the 8000Kicks team to learn a little bit more about the movement and their innovative new products, we’ll dive into that below. But first, a quick intro.

It appears that 8000Kicks made their foundation with the line “Dope Kicks” a successful crowdfunding campaign that can be found on a few platforms. The Indigogo campaign notes that 8000Kicks successfully raised a pinner under half a million dollars in 2019 to get the gears rolling.

If you’re the type of person who prioritizes fashion, you’ve probably noticed the lack of daily wearable hemp based alternatives when it comes to style and trends. That barrier is reducing as everyday new hemp products are coming to retail, and 8000Kicks is one of the first options for your feet that have a complete custom frame and eco friendly products for every component on the shoe.

While wear-ability with hemp requires a little bit of a break in period (to loosen the stiffer fibers), fabric derived from hemp has always been on the table as a stronger alternative to traditional cottons and fabrics. Challenges with hemp manufactured clothing tend to arise when it comes to consistent access to hemp products, regional regulation uncertainties and well, expensive price that tends to push designers away from it’s usage.

Fortunately, with cannabis’ push into the legal spotlight, we’re seeing regulations lax on an international stage when it comes to hemp products, international exchange and the access to fair trade hemp – at reasonable rates.

Hemp fibers are breathable, strong, and they don’t wear down as easily as most of the fabric we use for today’s clothing. Hemp regenerates quickly, and significantly reduces the carbon footprint on an industrial level through many of it’s applications.

8000Kicks is on the front lines of developing ecofriendly shoes from the ground up, all the way through manufacturing and even shipping. These shoes are waterproof, flexible and have a bunch of cool features that we’re going to share below in our interview with the team at 8000Kicks. Let’s go.

Meet 8000Kicks a company harnessing the cannabis plant to offer the world fashion focused, eco friendly kicks.

What are 8000Kicks?

8000kicks are the first waterproof hemp sneakers. We are a sustainable footwear company and we want to make hemp great again.

Tell us more about the 8000Kicks team.

We are an international team. Me, Bernardo, from Portugal, my colleagues from USA, China, Korea. 

I was in London and I returned to Portugal to start a business. But I was not sure what. 

It all started last year when me and some friends were smoke a joint and someone came up with the idea to make smokeable shoe. It was a stupid idea, but not so much actually. I knew there was stuff being made in Cannabis (hemp), so I knew it was possible and I told the rest of the team. And off we go to buy hemp, a process that lasted months.

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What is the inspiration behind hemp based clothing, and why is this important to the team at 8000kicks?

When we started making hemp shoes it was more of a joke product because Cannabis is cool. Until we realized that hemp is not just a cool, bit also eco-friendly and super durable. And that’s when the bulb light popped up and we knew we were doing something big.

Assuming sustainability and lifestyle is driving the movement, what type of lifestyle aligns with the 8000kicks brand and who should make sure they aren’t missing out?

We started making formal shoes. Then we realized we wouldn’t wear then, and that meant change. We are a casual versatile shoe and we want people to know that they are buying a great product that is not only super durable and comfortable but also pushing hemp forward as the new standard. And that is bigger than us. We sell to hippies, business people, farmers, politicians and everyone you could imagine. It is just super interesting as the product appeals to such different folks. But they all believe our project and our mission and that is what connects all.


What are the core values driving 8000kicks?

Sustainable products, with superior performance and durability. We want to push hemp great again by making amazing hemp products.

So these are hemp derived shoes – what % of the actual shoes are made with hemp?

The fabric in the upper and the insoles are 100% hemp. The soles are made with algae bloom foam (that’s why it is so light). Then we have some cotton/hemp in the laces and a recycled polyester label.

The box is recycled cardboard and the polybags carrying the shoes are made from corn.

How much of the carbon footprint are we eliminating with these shoes… And how many people need to wear them to make a strong impact on the environment?

Ok, that’s a tricky question. A normal shoe emissions are about 14 to 30kg of CO2. Especially if it’s leather. Our hemp shoe emits about 4.1 KG of CO2, about 70% to 90% less . Although hemp absorbs a lot of CO2 and algae as well, the process of weaving and building the shoe consumes a lot of energy. Also the transportation.

So what we do is to invest in planting hemp and trees. At the same time we are working with our factory to increase the percentage of clean energy sources used (now about 30% to 40%).

Vegan shoes.  That’s a cool concept – what exactly are vegan shoes?

Great question. Vegan shoes use no animal products like wool or leather or animal derivative glues (we use a water based glue).

When it comes to durability, we’ve heard that hemp fiber is longer lasting and increased durability compared to other traditional textiles.  What’s the scoop on hemps durability when it comes to our kicks, and the looks of the shoes with wear and tear over time?

That’s a great question. They are made to last. But it obviously depends on how people use it. But we estimate at least twice as long as a normal pair of sneakers.

Do hemp fibers add insulation / keep the feet warm, or are they a more breathable option?

That’s a tricky question because it depends on how it’s made and it’s thickness. We built a shoe for the good and the bad weather. A shoe for the sun and the rain. However hemp is really breathable, we made it in a way to insulate from wind and temperature. So it’s perfect for a Canadian spring and autumn, but maybe too cold for the winter. Also, maybe too hot for the portuguese summer, where it gets above the 35C (I just use flip flops on those days 😉 )

What are the core differences in look and feel?

Hemp has a funny touch. It feels a bit harsh on touch. But actually that’s why I love it personally, the material has it’s own character.  They also look sturdier, than a normal pair of shoes.

Assuming that price point is keeping big manufacturers from producing hemp based kicks, what is the big hurdle for businesses and why is hemp taking so long to come to market in the fashion seen?

It just takes a lot of time to regain the knowledge and scale our ancestors had in the past. Meaning we are paying really expensive for it now. It’s the start.

Who are 8000kicks perfect for? Athletic wear?  Dress? Casual?

We built as a versatile shoe. Casual definitely. We seen farmers using them as well as travellers or politicians.

What is the future of 8000kicks and can we expect to see a long line of styles, seeing your shoes in the mall or are you keeping them exclusive to your distribution?

Definetly. But not for now due to COVID. Also we want to grow slowly but strong.we prefer to have less models but really good ones.