SHS Grad Creates Plant-Based Shoe

Kengos+are+a+plant-based+shoe+codesigned+by+SHS+grad+Micah+Heftman+%28class+of+1999%29

Amanda Faubel

Kengos are a plant-based shoe codesigned by SHS grad Micah Heftman (class of 1999)

Kengos is a new footwear company founded by Stamford High School Class of 1999 graduate, Micah Heftman. Kengos shoes are not just your everyday shoes but a new level of environmentally friendly, innovative footwear. They are 98 percent plant based and 100 percent animal free.

Kengos shoes are made up of solely, natural cork, rubber, corn, and eucalyptus. Cork is a sustainable ingredient, from Portugal, that allows the shoe to have a lightweight support footbed. The usage of cork on the footbed allows the shoe to mold to your own feet the more you wear them. This is similar to a popular brand, Birkenstocks, who also have cork bottom soles. The corn makes it breathable, durable, and structured. The eucalyptus is used to prevent odor and bacteria, and it gives the shoes a soft feel. The small amount of rubber used is 35 times faster at decomposing in a landfill than an average outsole.

SHS graduate Micah Heftman, class of 1999 (Courtesy of LinkedIn)

Heftman went to Tulane University for his first two years of college and graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in product marketing/advertising. It has been Heftman’s goal since he was young to start his own shoe company. His obsession with shoes first started when his older brother got a pair of grape Jordan V’s in 1990.

Before starting Kengos, Heftman developed shoes for other corporate brands for over 15 years. Heftman says, “I was able to learn how a product is created using a global supply chain so that I could do it on my own.”

Due to COVID-19, Heftman said the difficulty in finding new vendors and developing relationships with them has been harder than ever. Normally, Heftman would travel globally to different companies in order to connect with them on a more personal level. Being restricted to meeting potential vendors online has been a huge obstacle in increasing Kengos brand according to Heftman.

Even though Kengos has had to re-adapt to different restraints, Heftman still managed to find the positives in owning his own business. Heftman says, “Having the ability to make decisions in real time that make an immediate impact on the larger business is a great benefit of ownership.”

Heftman hopes in ten years he will still be making shoes for a company he owns and operates. He also expects Kengos to be a $100 million a year company in ten years. Heftman is proud to call Stamford his hometown, and is excited to continue his journey with Kengos.

 

Check out the shoes or order a pair here.

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