First school in the UAE to offer recycled, vegan shoes as part of school uniform
Posted on 2022 Jul,09

Listen to the article

Swiss International School Dubai, the emirate’s first bilingual International Baccalaureate School, has always voiced a commitment to tangible sustainable action, as part of its vision to create truly global citizens.

The visionary school, based in Al Jadaf, has now tied up with Thaely shoes, to offer pupils special sneakers, ethically made of recycled materials as part of the school uniform.

Ruth Burke, School Principal and CEO, says, “It’s fantastic to find a cool, local brand - created by a young student - which is sustainable and which our pupils really like. At SISD, we encourage our pupils to think out of the box, and to go the extra mile - Thaely shows what’s possible when you really put your mind to something. We want our pupils to feel comfortable, and to look smart, but also, hope that every time they look at their feet, they are reminded of our collective, global responsibility to act sustainably, and the power of pursuing your dreams.”

The ‘Y2K Pro’ shoes - inspired by classic basketball sneakers of the early 2000s - are the result of a design project by Dubai student and company founder Ashay Bhave. He wanted to develop an ethically produced sneaker that only uses components recycled from waste materials. The aim of the exercise was to find a solution to the problem of the 100 billion plastic carrier bags used each year that use 12 million barrels of oil and kill 100,000 marine animals annually.

After creating a successful prototype, he went on to win Amity University’s Eureka start-up pitch competition in 2019, which helped provide funding to further develop his sustainable sneakers.

He produced a commercial version of the distinctive sneaker from recycled plastic carrier bags, plastic bottles and rubber.

Company founder Ashay Bhave says, "The Thaely Y2K Pro is a revolution in the footwear industry, and Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai is the first school in the world to offer Thaely sneakers as a part of their uniform! Each sneaker uses recycled components made from 10 waste plastic bags, 12 waste plastic bottles and industrial rubber waste. All components, including the glue, are PETA-certified vegan.”

What’s more, each pair is packaged in a reusable shopping tote made from four waste plastic bottles and a plantable box made from recycled paper, embedded with basil seeds and dyed with waste coffee grounds. And since launch, the shoes have helped divert more than 48,000 plastic bottles and more than 40,000 plastic bags from landfill.

Ruth Burke continues, “We set the bar with regional, bilingual IB education, and now we are setting the bar with this exciting sustainable addition to our school uniform. These special sneakers are now available with a special exclusive discount code for pupils and parents, and we look forward to seeing some of our 1800 pupils all looking great in their new Thaelys.”