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About Us

Never doubt that a small group can create change; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.


Our vision is for a world of zero-waste shoes. We believe there is a better way to make shoes – one which promotes tree planting and works in partnership with the natural carbon cycle.

Our ambition is to change the way shoes are manufactured and to prove it is economically viable to produce beautiful, durable, and ultimately biodegradable footwear. 

We all need to become true materialists. To care about the materials themselves, not how much profit we can make from exploitation in order to pay a celebrity to tell you that it's cool. Call us simplistic but it seems pretty obvious that the current production model is broken.


The WAES logo is derived from the alchemy symbol for earth and the name itself is an acronym of the classical elements of Water, Air, Earth and Sun which defines our manufacturing philosophy of combining science and natural materials.

We are a collaboration of shoe designers, ocean advocates, surfers, scientists and manufacturers with decades of experience in research, ocean advocacy and footwear production.  

What unites us is a passion for the natural world and the frustration of stoking a system stuck on full-throttle, and seemingly intent on burying us all under a mountain of plastic.


We believe it is up to manufacturers to make the right choices, to strive for a cradle to cradle product, and not pass on the ‘ethical choice’ baton to consumers.  

We talk about our product in the same way behind the scenes that we do externally. And that’s how we started, with a desire to produce a product we knew didn’t require compromise or greenwash, and one we could address the limitations and improve in an open manner. And that company can only be a start-up.

We are far from perfect, but we will operate a transparent model from production through to end of life and welcome dialouge.

If you fancy coming along for the ride then please sign up to our newsletter, or our social media, so we know you dropped by. And we look forward to meeting you and working with you. 


Our shoes are a plastic-free, biodegradable no compromise product. Using sustainable certified organic materials and natural processes which puts people and the environment above profit.

We use materials which cost many times that of other shoes but have strived to keep the final cost as low as possible via a direct model with low margins and a commitment to support ocean cleanups and tree planting, and we are also working towards carbon neutral certification. 

All our footwear will be fully life-cycle managed with no waste in the packaging or at the end of life. Our shoes will be returnable for a credit note, ground down, composted, and used as fertiliser on our own tree plantations. 

 Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.

// Anne Lappe 

Ed Temperley

Co Founder

Damian Quinn

Co Founder

Portuguese Manufacturing

Our team of expert craftsmen & women have been making shoes in Porto for generations