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Never Tire Of Your Treads

Some people wear their shoes to the max. Having teenagers I witness this atrocity about every six months.

Now imagine all those tires that sit in landfill and how they could be used for shoes. Tires are built to last for some 50,000 miles and wouldn’t that be great for the soles of your shoes.

One would have to wonder how long it would take a teenage boy to wear out a pair of sandals fitted with tire soles and straps.

The Abarcas are made by entrepreneurial indigenous Aymara women in El Alto, which is the twin city of La Paz, perched high in the Bolivian Andes.

The Aymara women find old tires in the dump and convert them into sandals called Abarcas. They craft the Abarcas in workshops at their own homes. They cut the tires and assemble them into Abarcas sandals. The Aymara craftswomen sell them in the country’s largest market, called the Mercado Negro, the black market, where you can find everything from old airplane parts, to live lamas, and even fake taxi licenses.

In many of the rural communities the population is wearing Abarcas, which are also known as Ojetas. The Abarcas or Ojetas are made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled material.  The tires these women use would otherwise sit in dumps near residential areas forever. Five dollars from every sale is also donated to a Bolivian public health NGO of the buyer’s choice to help benefit health care in Bolivia.

Many may think that a tire sandal would be uncomfortable but what if you knew that they can wear to shape of your feet. If they are stiff just add a bit of olive oil to the sandal and have fun wearing them in. The best attribute about the sandal is the environmentally friendly aspect and the hand crafted quality.

Bolivian Abarcas

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