Ponto Footwear wants to bring conscious consumption to the footwear industry

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The Pacific by Ponto. Photo: Ponto


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Editor’s note: This feature is brought to you by Ponto Footwear.


Bringing a product to market in today’s world is a challenge. Dealing with ongoing travel restrictions, shipping issues, and price increases across the board is simply difficult. But no one ever said it would be easy to take your own idea and follow it.

Now add the added complication of trying to make this product better for the planet, and suddenly the level of difficulty is kicked up a notch as design options become more limited and often more expensive. You’re almost expected to compromise in other areas, like comfort or style.

ponto shot shoe model

The Ponto Pacific is unisex, stylish and comfortable. What more could you ask for? Sustainable? Yeah, that too. Photo: Ponto

Ponto was born out of a light bulb moment between founders Joey and Aaron. Neither would necessarily describe themselves as “shoe people”, but they both saw the lack of durable, fashionable and comfortable options in the shoe industry. “It’s like, ‘why do things that are durable always have to look durable?'” Joey said. “People don’t want to have to make those compromises. They want what they buy to look good, feel good, and then they consider durability. »

In other words, people won’t choose a product just because it’s durable, it has to beat the competition in other ways too. “It’s like what Tesla did for the electric vehicle market,” Joey said. “They made a super sexy car that people loved to drive, oh and by the way it’s also good for the planet. First and foremost, you have to have a good product.

At the time, Aaron was working for Google, and Joey, a graduate mechanical engineer, was building his prototyping background. They both gave up on what they were doing and decided to make a shoe that ticked all three boxes of comfort, style, and durability. To do this, they enlisted Lanna Lottman, a technical footwear developer with over 13 years of experience in the industry. Before Ponto, she was getting quite frustrated with the outdated shoe industry. “I always tried to push the boundaries of things and got a lot of pushback, especially as a woman in a male-dominated field,” Lanna said. “People in the industry just didn’t care about making a ‘better’ shoe, they wanted shoes that followed current fashion trends, and they wanted them faster and faster.”

ponto shoe range

“Vegan leather is actually more toxic to produce than using material that would be wasted anyway,” says Joey. They therefore chose recycled leather for the upper of the Pacific de Ponto dress sneaker. Photo: Ponto

Worse still, Lanna felt that the shoe industry as a whole was designing shoes for increasingly narrow markets and encouraging overconsumption. “Perhaps the most enduring thing about Pontos is that they can replace multiple pairs of shoes in your closet,” Lanna said. In short, they wanted a multifunctional shoe that could do a lot of things, and do them well.

Building such a shoe from scratch meant that they had to get all the details right, and everything had to serve more than one purpose. For example, the recycled leather upper is made from recycled leather scraps that were likely on their way to landfill. It’s also water-repellent and comes in five stylish colors (more on the way). The tencel lining is better for the planet, made from eucalyptus, oak and birch fibres, but it also breathes well and is naturally antimicrobial which reduces foot odor.

A “dressy sneaker”, Pontos can be worn with or without socks, all day, every day, from the office to the beach and everywhere in between. They’ve even made it to a wedding or two in the short time they’ve been on the market. As Lanna mentioned above, the idea is that one pair of Pontos can replace several pairs of shoes in her closet. “It goes directly against fast fashion,” she says, “where the goal is to consume more, not less.” And so far, it’s working.

sole design on Ponto Pacific shoes

The distinct wave pattern on the sole pays homage to the ocean and the beautiful beaches of Ponto that gave the company its name. Photo: Ponto

Mindfulness and adaptability are at the heart of Ponto’s motivation and mission. But they recognize that there is no such thing as an entirely sustainable product. “It’s about where the technology is and where the market is,” says Joey. “With a shoe, there can be 60 components, which means you have to line up 60 different suppliers and all of those suppliers have to be on the same page as us and want to do the same thing in terms of design, so the he idea of ​​’sustainability’ is truly a work in progress and a moving target.

Above all, the Ponto team is dedicated to making a better product. They don’t want you to buy their shoes because they’re organic and recycled, but because they’re comfortable, stylish and functional. The sustainable development aspect is just the icing on the cake. It feels good to know that the stylish and comfortable shoes you wear have minimal impact on the world around you. That’s what makes Pontos the awesome shoes they are.

To find out more or buy yourself a pair of Ponto Pacifics, visit pontofootwear.com.

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