Erasmus Alumni Chain: WEAR
Millions of sneakers are being thrown away each year, even before they have been sold. And many more are chucked when they still have a whole sneaker life ahead of them. What a waste, thought alumnus Pim and his associate Lorenzo. They founded WEAR, where they will steam-clean your favorite sneakers and offer a fresh collection or refurbished ones.
Pim and Lorenzo love sneakers, but the growing trash heap resulting from wastage in the global shoe industry bothers them. At WEAR, they buy thrown-away sneakers in bulk from collection points and waste processors. Then they refurbish the sneakers and sell them in their physical store and webshop. You can also come to WEAR to freshen up your favorite pair of kicks. In their workshop WEAR sneaker cleaners treat your sneakers with care and attention. These sneaker cleaners are young people who cannot find work so easily elsewhere on the labor market. WEAR offers them a training program that prepares them for the labor market.
The cleaning is done by hand, because each sneaker is unique and made of a different material, thus requiring a different approach. At WEAR, they use both a professional steamer and a brush with cleaning agent. Then they scrub! Already the thousandth cleaned pair is in sight. The WEAR-team has learned a lot from all those cleaning sessions. For example, that mesh, that soft, woven material that you now often encounter on the front side of sneakers, is difficult to clean completely. They are now wondering whether the shoe manufacturers intentionally design their sneakers that way...
Pim and Lorenzo want to make a positive impact with WEAR by providing employment, education and by contributing to a sustainable sneaker market. Their wish is to scale up to other large cities in the Netherlands or Europe. Watch the video for the whole story and see if there are a few refurbished sneakers for you!