As a Portuguese-American based company, 8000Kicks is breaking boundaries with their latest sustainable hemp fashion focused on making 100% hemp shoes and accessories for both men and women. In 2017, the CEO and co-founder of 8000Kicks, Bernardo Carreira, was living in Portugal with the inspiration to start a new project…but he didn’t know what.
One night, after a couple of beers and joints among friends, someone jokingly mentioned the idea of making a shoe you could smoke. Although somewhat of a delirious 5-in-the-morning high idea, Carreira took the concept and ran with it. After all, he’d seen bags and wallets made of cannabis or hemp fibers before.
He reached out to his grandmother, Otilia, who had over 50 years of experience working in textiles. Surprisingly enough, she was on board with the idea and they spent the next year actively working with global suppliers to create the first ever waterproof hemp shoe—an innovation that’s forever changed the category of casual, sustainable footwear. While 8000Kicks shoes aren’t necessarily for smoking, they are fit for ultimate comfort, durability, breathability and eco-friendly style with every step.
Powered By Hemp
Considered the “sober cousin” of cannabis, the hemp plant has been used in many ancient cultures for its versatile use and durability. Hemp is anti-bacterial and anti-microbial by nature, requiring no fertilizers and minimal water to grow, and is often sought out for its clean and pure compounds. Its minimal amount of psychoactive components make industrial hemp and hemp production legal in the US under the 2018 Farm Bill Act—and it also remains a legal plant and material used globally.
With the power of hemp in mind, 8000Kicks set out to become the pioneers in hemp shoes and accessories, with their main goal being to bring back this powerful natural fiber and shift any stigma around it. And it’s safe to say their making progress. The design and manufacturing team at 8000Kicks initially spent months traveling the globe looking for the right growers to source the star ingredient of their eco-friendly clothing line. As a result, they found a quality hemp provider and created a premium fabric that is not only strong, flexible and durable, but also splash and dust proof.
Let’s take a quick look at what the process looks like—from the hemp fields to the final product:
- Harvest Hemp Plants: To make this hemp fabric, the process begins with harvesting hemp plants with a specially developed machine.
- Retting: The fibers are separated from the plant’s stalk and bark, then left to ret in the field for 4-6 weeks. Retting means to soak something, such as hemp, in liquid or expose to moisture to loosen the fibers from the woody tissue. Essentially, you are partially rotting the plant in order to extract the fibers needed for production.
- Carding Into Strands: Once the fibers have been gently separated, the fiber is then carded intro strands and cleaned to remove any impurities from the plant.
- Pulping, Matting or Steam: Depending on the specific product being manufactured, the strands are then pupled, matted or steamed to render the raw hemp fabric into a weavable fiber.
- Weaving Into Textile: After the hemp fabric has been softened and made maleable for weaving, it’s ready to be spun into yarn and woven into the desired textile.
So, there you have it—a premium fabric made completely out of hemp! And 8000Kicks is thankfully hitting the fashion mark as well. You can feel as good as you look when wearing this brand.
Working to Minimize Our Collective Carbon Footprint
Designed with the eco-cannabis consumer in mind, 8000Kicks takes their sustainable hemp shoes and accessories even further by defining their 360º approach to carbon conscious clothing. In addition to providing a superior eco-friendly footwear solution to consumers, the brand also looks at their own carbon footprint and that of their partners. They also are working to provide essential workers with comfortable and durable hemp footwear. It’s about doing more than putting an eco-friendly product out there—it’s about working together and encouraging every touchpoint to make a greener, kinder choice for the plant.
Zooming in on 8000Kicks’ own carbon footprint, the brand is works with global factory partners to constantly improve and increase their dependency on renewable energy sources. Its Portuguese factory uses 45%-55% of clean energy sources, and their China factory contributes 30%-40% towards clean energy. These efforts are taken into account during each and every step of the hemp manufacturing process, including the calculation of raw materials, factory build-out and even transportation.
Additionally, the global hemp brand is invested in capturing CO2 with hemp farms and the planting of trees. Every new tree planted by 8000Kicks is estimated to remove an average of 50 kilograms of CO2 from the atmosphere annually, during a 20-50 year period. In all, the average pair of running shoes uses around 14kg of CO2 to be manufactured. 8000Kicks has managed to reduce that amount to 4.1kg of CO2 per hemp shoe the brand produces.
While hemp shoes are what 8000Kicks is known for, the brand also offers a wide array of accessories made from the same premium hemp fiber. From belts and laptop cases to backpacks and wallets, the line offers stylish and useful pieces that will surely enhance any on-the-go lifestyle. With the same waterprooof and dust-proof properties as the shoes, these travel pieces will last for years—plus, they are easy to clean.
Oh yeah, and about that idea of a smokable shoe—Well, Berrairdo’s been working on that too. In collaboration with Royal Queen Seeds, 8000Kicks released a an exlusive 100-pair run of Weedo shoes, made completely out of real CBD flower. Another world’s first. We can’t wait to see what’s in store next.