Bahman Irvani fled Iran in 1979 with his family when their shoe business and assets were taken over by the government. Just four years later, Irvani rebuilt his business from the ground up in Buford, Georgia in the United States. Despite being far from Iran, Irvani and his family have shoe-making in their blood. The family has been manufacturing shoes for half a century.
Their company in the U.S. is called “Okabashi” after the Japanese practice of reflexology. Each pair of Okabashi sandals has massaging beads imbedded inside that make for incredibly comfortable, tension-relieving footwear. The sandals are not only made from 100% recyclable material, they are manufactured 100% domestically with absolutely no importing of materials or exporting of labor.
Recently celebrating their 25th anniversary of shoe making in the U.S, Irvani’s company has sold over 30-million pairs of sandals.
Made from entirely recyclable material, manufactured using at least 25% of the recycled material, and a zero waste manufacturing process makes these shoes green in every aspect of the word. The American shoe industry sells, “Two-billion pairs of footwear are sold each year…99% of them made overseas.” Obviously you can imagine the amount of waste produced by this mass production of non-recyclable material. The Okabashi Company encourages every customer to return their shoes when they are done with them so they can be cleaned and made into a new pair of ‘Okabashis.’
For more information about the manufacturing process, check out the video here Story & Photos via CNN