Dubai: School first to offer students recycled, vegan shoes as part of school uniform

Student-designed 'Y2K pros' made from recycled plastic carrier bags, plastic bottles, rubber


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Thu 7 Jul 2022, 1:42 PM

Last updated: Thu 7 Jul 2022, 10:30 PM

A Dubai-based school is driving its sustainability initiatives by introducing recycled, vegan shoes as part of its school uniform.

The Swiss International School Dubai (SISD) has now tied up with Thaely Shoes to offer pupils special sneakers ethically made of recycled materials as part of the school uniform.

The 'Y2K pro' shoes – inspired by classic basketball sneakers of the early 2000s - are the result of a design project by Dubai student and company founder Ashay Bhave, who wanted to develop ethically produced footwear. The distinctive sneaker is made from recycled plastic carrier bags, plastic bottles, and rubber.

"One of our core values is sustainability and the Thaely shoes are a brilliant example of this value in action – something our students can wear every day to remind them of the importance of their contribution to making the world a better place," said Alison Roberts, Head of Marketing and Admissions at SISD.

"We love the shoes. They fit our relaxed uniform and reflect the values we place in our learning approach and style. In addition, the opportunity to support a local entrepreneur is a great way to instill this passion in our students and show them what is possible!"

This is the first time that the school has opted to include shoes in its uniform list, and Roberts is sure parents will welcome it.

"Buying these shoes is optional, but we think students and families will love them," she said. "In the past, most parents have chosen to send their children to school in other branded shoes and sports shoes. The Thaely shoes are comparable in price to these, and we have secured a preferential price for our families."

Alison added that the story behind the shoes will be a great example for their students.

"A local student who has created a brilliant product, and a well-constructed brand story and message," she said. "We think our students are going to love the shoes too – comfortable, cool and doing the right thing for the environment – re-enforces our IB principles and the type of education we offer."


Each pair of shoes is packaged in a reusable shopping tote made from four waste plastic bottles and a plantable box made from recycled paper, embedded with basil seeds and dyed with waste coffee grounds. Since its launch, the shoes have helped divert more than 48,000 plastic bottles and more than 40,000 plastic bags from landfills.

The Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai (SISD), Dubai's first bilingual International Baccalaureate School, opened in 2015 and is the largest Swiss school outside Switzerland.

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