Year 13 Nayland College students Shaun Chalmers-Banks, Liv Tregidga, Renz Alvez and Tom Moreu are turning car tyres into sandals. Photo: Kate Russell.

Turning tyres into sandals

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A group of Nayland College senior students is using old car tyres to make new sandals.

Team ‘ATYR’ is part of this year’s Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), which gives secondary school students the opportunity to set up and run a real business.

The concept came from group member Tom Moreu. “We were all a bit stuck for an idea, but then I thought about recycling car tyres. My dad was a marathon runner and had these big books on Kenyan athletes and these tyre shoes they made.”

Renz Alvez says it was “a bit tough” in the beginning, as they didn’t have any idea how to make shoes.

“We did some research into the materials and tools we needed and, after plenty of trial and error, we teamed up with Korkers Sandal Company to be our supplier.”

And while they are still at the testing stage, they are pleased with how the sandals are looking.

“Our first prototypes didn’t turn out so well. You would never think we would have something looking like what we’ve got now, so we’re quite happy with how far we’ve come,” says Tom.

He says they can make around seven pairs of sandals with just one canvas tyre, which they have been sourcing from Jacks Tyres in Hope. Renz says their goal is to launch the sandals by the last week of July.

“We are going to start with the Nelson Saturday market and we also want to set up a website to sell directly to customers.”

The young entrepreneurs also have plenty ideas for future products.

“We’d love to make a full vegan shoe,” says Renz.

“We had a cool idea to replace the leather uppers with Italian vegetable leather.”

The team have also thought of their own slogan, which Tom says sums up the sandals pretty well.

“These shoes have travelled thousands of miles, now let them take you thousands more.”