February 16, 2017

Safia Minney gets a lesson on shoe-making from Po-Zu Founder Sven Segal

Safia - Sven tell me a little bit about the boots you are wearing today and why they are special?

Sven - “This boot was originally designed and released back in 2008 for a collaboration with Amazon Life. We had such a great reaction to it at the time which is why we created version 2 using chrome-free leather.

The Well-2 has all the usual Po-Zu features which our customers love so much: glue-less construction, design for disassembly, a natural shock absorbent latex sole and a removable coconut-based Foot-Mattress designed for ultimate comfort.

This boot was also worn by a lead character in a blockbuster film, but that’s another story ;) “


Safia - You say that people should love their feet, and your shoes should be comfortable. You have managed to get me out of my heels to slipper comfort during the day. So how exactly do you manage that level of comfort, because it is incredible.

Sven - “Like all our shoes, these boots come with a coconut fibre Foot-Mattress which is substantially thicker than any of the other shoes out there.

Essentially it works like a shock-absorber; the swirly coconut fibres work like tiny springs. It also moulds to the shape of your feet, provides very good air circulation to keep your feet dry, and provides great insulation for both hot and cold climates.

It feels like nothing else, because of this particular fibrous mattress construction and the way it adapts to your feet. It is removable too.”


Safia - When you say a removable, you mean you can remove it yourself from the actual shoe?

Sven - “Yes.”

Safia - Obviously the mattress makes for more comfort, but what is the point of it being removable? Can one replace it or…?

Sven - “Yes that’s right. Obviously the mattress is great for comfort, but if you are buying shoes to wear day on day, year on year, you might need to replace it at some point. It also allows orthotics placement.”

Safia - The circular economy is a huge topic right now. It is no longer about overproduction and overconsumption, but finding something you really love: something that ticks the box in terms of environmentalism and workers’ rights that is truly durable and that you can repair.

Obviously the ability to repair and prolong the life of the product is a huge step in this process. What are your plans to build on this?

Sven - “This year we hope to launch a repair program for customers who have been wearing our shoes for years. The sole is often the first thing to go. By offering the ability to re-sole, we are hoping that we can double the lifespan of the shoes.”

Safia - Tell me a little bit more about this idea of disassembly and the ability to repair? How important is that to you?

Sven - “Shoe waste is a massive problem. Less than 5% of post-consumer shoes is recycled. The vast majority of shoes on the market are made with glue. This is a huge issue when it comes to disassembly. Whilst there are some initiatives out there working to tackle this, the breadth of what we can do is very narrow. Mostly shoes can’t be recycled or broken down into different components and end up in landfill.”

Safia - What percentage of Po-Zu could be recycled?

Sven - “Well, potentially 100%.”

Safia - Why potentially?

Sven - “Designing a shoe that can be disassembled has to be the first step in a close loop business model. We still are quite far from implementing a full closed loop, but we are starting with this first essential step.”

Safia - Well that’s incredible! Tell me about the styling of this particular boot. It has a kind of biker boot feel about it, very utilitarian. How would you style it? Would this be worn with a slim black jean or with a jacket?

Sven - “Yes, skinny jeans would look great. Or something you can tuck in, just like wearing Wellington boots.”

Safia - And which colours does this boot come in?

Sven - “Well, two: black and brown. But between you and me and the thrifty among us, the black is on sale. You can check them both out in our online shop here.”