Christal Earle, founder of Brave Soles

Creative Upcycling Leads to Sustainable Fashion

When you combine problem solving with creative vision, amazing things can happen. Join Sahoja in welcoming Brave Soles to our ethical brand family! Christal Earle founded Brave Soles in 2017 by building relationships with artisans in the Dominican Republic and crafting a way to upcycle tires, inner tubes, and leather from old airplane seats.

BRAVE SOLES’ STORY

As the founder of an international youth humanitarian organization, Christal Earle had been working and learning from a local community of garbage dump workers since 2005 on the north coast of Dominican Republic.

Among everything else in that garbage dump, there was also an overwhelming amount of tires. They were a breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases and they were a toxic nightmare.

In 2010, an unexpected turn of events in Christal’s journey left her facing the fact that she was going to have to rebuild her life between two countries. She was now torn between Canada, where her career was based, and the Dominican Republic where her adopted daughter couldn’t leave.

In early 2017, the idea struck for the first time. Why not use tires for soles on beautiful handmade shoes — and create a way to help the most vulnerable people in the process?

The ability to ask a different question led her on this journey that continues to expand and grow. It’s not just her story, nor is it a tire’s story.

This is the story of people like you: people who know they want to be proud of their choices. The Brave Soles’ team ebbs and flows and covers many generations of people from many different parts of the world. All of us have stories and reasons for why we do what we do. And all of us have one thing in common: we are curious and inspired by the continuing question of how we can create something that is a growing reflection of our love for people and planet. The choices we make should be a reflection of what we value.

OUR MATERIALS

Although we are working towards completely upcycled products, with some of our items it is not yet possible to have 100% upcycled materials. In this case, our team chooses high-quality leather from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Argentina.

Our cushioning midsole (between the tire sole and the leather shoe bottom) is made from a high-quality foam that is designed to be durable and long lasting.

Artisans at Brave Soles, and women modeling sandals on the tires they are made from!

OUR SHOEMAKERS

At Brave Soles, we believe that the people who make our shoes are just as important as the people who buy them.

We work with local artisans across the North Coast of the Dominican Republic to supply all of our items — from the shoes we make to the bags they are delivered in. Our business relationships are built on mutual trust and transparency. Their skill is admirable and we are proud to work with men and women of such talent and ambition.

We ensure all of our employees and suppliers are employed ethically: from wages to vacation time to health care and working conditions. We work with all of our suppliers on a weekly basis and value our open lines of communication and connection.

FAIR PRICING

You deserve to pay a fair price for a fairly made product. After all, isn’t this what it means to do business ethically?

Our aim has always been to price our products fairly — taking into account the incredible quality of our shoes and products and ensuring that our artisans are well compensated.

Our shoes might not be the cheapest on the market, but that is not why we are in this business. The skill required to produce what we have is a time honored and learned craft. We sleep well at night knowing that your soul can rest easy in your Brave Soles purchase and know that everyone has been treated fairly along the way.

SHOES FROM UPCYCLED TIRES

Bernard is originally from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. As our “Tire Wizard” he is the magician behind the soles that are traveling all over the world with the Brave Soles’ name.

Bernard comes by his craft rightly. Through years of working with his father and brothers, he has creatively been recycling tire parts for motorbikes and other useful items. He first learned how to cut soles in Haiti as a young teenager and until we met, had been searching for a way to connect with the global market. He is now proudly doing that, day after day. He is also training our up-and-coming tire wizards to do their craft with as much passion and skill that he pours into each pair.

Bernard is an entrepreneurial creative at heart, always surprising us with his latest invention (he actually built a car on his front porch from upcycled parts he collected!) and we are proud of his skill and passion for helping the environment.

YOUR SOUL WILL FEEL GOOD IN BRAVE SOLES

We are female owned, ethically produced and globally inspired. We believe in work done with dignity, sustainable fashion and a future that we can all create together.

As our founder and chief optimist, Christal calls both Toronto and Cabarete, D.R. home. From starting a global charity in 2000 to living between two countries for 10 years, because of an international immigration situation gone sideways, she has kind of done it all.

Brave Soles was born out of her love for people, planet and great shoes.

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