Soul Simple by Anna Proctor
Take a page out of the barefoot movement of the 60’s, add a sensibility to sustainable living and some boho inspired chic fashion, and see how designer Sue Kenney has redefined footwear as we know it.
Sue, who has walked thousands of kilometres on the Camino, a medieval pilgrimage route in Spain, has a mission to take people by the foot, back to nature. A big proponent of going barefoot for a multitude of health and spiritual reasons, Sue was out walking barefoot in Muskoka one day when she decided to stop in at a local café. “No shoes, no service,” the barista told her. She asked the question, “Wouldn’t it be great if people were free to walk barefoot anywhere they wanted, in a shoe that didn’t have a sole, and still look sexy and stylish?” And the idea of Barebottoms™ was born.
Sue started creating her design, which she cut by hand from re-purposed leather jackets gathered at local second-hand stores. Convinced that she had a business concept with market potential, she auditioned for and was chosen to go on CBC’s Dragon’s Den TV show, where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business concepts and products to a panel of Canadian business moguls who have the cash and the know-how to make it happen.
This lead to a whirlwind nine month frenzy of design development, manufacturing the shoes in suede, and marketing to the yoga, dance and earthing market, right up to and after the show aired, in January 2014. Although Sue didn’t attract a Dragon investor, she secured another backer as a result of the show and now she is marketing and selling Barebottoms all over the world.
Sourcing a vegan friendly material for her barefoot shoes was another challenge until she discovered that neoprene was a perfect material. These amphibious shoes are a fashionable sole-less shoe for the beach, swim, surf and SUP. They are 100% vegan; reversible; offer UV protection on the top of the foot and stylish. Quick drying and comfy, neoprene Barebottoms will be available in four designer colours and two sizes, one each for women and men, with strap options available as well. Both versions of Barebottoms are also practical for yogis and dancers. The shoes help their feet to grip the floor and mat, thus giving more stability and a feeling of comfort and being grounded. The shoes compliment both dance and yoga lifestyle clothing in the studio and beyond.
Sue’s designs have proven that it’s not necessary to give up fashion to be connected to the ground. The shoes are sold in stores across Canada, the US, and in Europe. Optimistic about success for both lines of Barebottoms, Sue sees fashion potential in the yoga, dance, resort, and water sports markets.
Sue says, “Wearing Barebottoms offers us the freedom to let our true inner beauty shine in harmony with nature, soul to sole.”
Earthing enthusiasts and cafe lovers everywhere have Sue Kenney to thank for making their two passions easier to combine.
Barebottoms can be ordered online and they are available at select stores.
Sue Kenney Bio
After being downsized from her telecom career Sue’s life changed when she walked 800 kilometers on the Camino, a medieval pilgrimage route in Spain. She recreated herself and is now an internationally acclaimed speaker, coach and Canadian best-selling author. Along with award winning writer Bruce Pirrie, of Second City fame, Sue has co-written the screenplay adaptation of her first book My Camino,which is in development as a feature film by 2013 Academy Award Nominated producer Item 7 (War Witch). She Directed a feature length documentary called Las Peregrinas and has produced two short films. Blended with her athletic discipline as a competitive world-class Master’s rower and her passion to share stories, Sue offers a unique perspective to personal creativity by applying the virtues of being a simple pilgrim on the Camino, as a metaphor for a life journey with purpose. Sue has walked over 5000 kilometers and now goes barefoot. She guides groups on the Camino. She is presently working on her third book called How to Wear Bare Feet. www.suekenney.ca