Paper Feet: The Upcycled "Foot Condom" by Jimmy Tomczak
According to Wikipedia, the process of upcycling is "the process of converting waste or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or higher environmental value." Right now, upcycled products are not only growing in popularity, but they're also becoming exceedingly fashionable. Recently, I did an article on upcycled purses made from plastic bags by Sheila Odessey. However innovative the process of upcycling may be, purses are nothing new. "Paper Feet," on the other hand, are an entirely new commodity.
Young Michigan entrepreneur, Jimmy Tomczak, has recently introduced to the world upcycled paper footwear made from old billboards. As a self-proclaimed outdoors-man, Jimmy prefers to go barefoot as often as possible but wanted some protection from hot asphalt. I'm not sure why a good pair of Tevas or Birkenstocks wouldn't suffice, but fortunately Jimmy is resourceful. He knew such footwear would have to be tear-resistant, waterproof, and lightweight (so, people could feel barefoot when they're not actually barefoot). But what material would be both lightweight and protective enough to fulfill his needs?
Jimmy discovered that FedEx envelopes, although puncture-resistant and waterproof, were to too thin for footwear. Yet, like many successful inventions, the solution came as an accident. When Tommy found himself faced with a leaky roof, a friend suggested using an old billboard as a kind of tarp. Of course, Tommy had other intentions. Five times thicker than shower curtains, Tommy felt he had just the material to create his revolutionary footwear, which he lovingly nicknamed "foot condoms."
Jimmy soon detected that he could create about 100 pairs of "Paper Feet" from just one billboard. And given that each one is made from a different section of the billboard, each one is entirely unique. Jimmy is also making quite a profit when you consider that he buys one billboard for about $20 and sells each pair of Paper Feet for $30. However, according to Jimmy, the Velcro used on the instep strap doesn't come cheap. He also claims that the majority of consumers are wearing Paper Feet at spas and generally don't pay less than $30 for shoes anyway. Not just an innovator, but a businessman as well!
Jimmy's also hoping that the production of his "Paper Feet" will open jobs up to people recovering from the current recession in his home state of Michigan. He intends to get "Paper Feet" into retail stores for the summer lineup.