By Johan Purnomo, Tommy Ardiansyah
BANDUNG, Indonesia. —It sounds like a riddle – what feet can be used to make shoes to put on your feet?
Nurman Farieka Ramdhany, a 25-year-old entrepreneur in the Indonesian city of Bandung, thinks he has come up with a cost-effective answer that promotes sustainability: skin taken from the feet of chickens.
A rubbery delicacy in many cuisines, including dim sum, chicken feet are covered with skin that has a similar texture and pattern to snake or crocodile skin.
Ramdhany’s father had researched these more exotic skins and recommended he try making shoes with chicken feet, which he started doing in 2017.
Now, Ramdhany and a team of five, including his father, produce shoes entirely or partially made from chicken feet in a labor-intensive operation that takes 10 days. They skin the feet by hand, dye the skins and sew them into pieces that can be fashioned into shoes.
It takes 45 chicken feet to make a pair of shoes, which are priced between $35 and $140.
Ramdhany said he is mainly motivated by the opportunity to use a waste product from fast food restaurants and markets, his main suppliers.
“The waste is a lot, that is why we try to process it to get more value from it,” he said.
Food waste is forecast to rise by almost a third to more than 2 billion tonnes by 2030, the Boston Consulting Group forecast in 2018.
Ramdhany says customers like his shoes. “They say our products are comfortable to wear. So far the market response has been positive.”