Ahinsa Shoes was founded by Lukas Klimpera and is located in Prague, Czech Repulic.
How did you get into the shoe industry?
It’s a crazy story! My first job was a computer programmer. . . . But I got real burnout syndrome after few years, so there was need to start something new. I was always feeling/wishing to work with people, so I went to study physiotherapy. And there I met one of our professors, Mrs. Clara Lewit. She completely amazed me with her kind, sensitive and simply genial approach. . . . A big part of her “concept” was natural movement and barefoot walking (Clara was writing articles in scientific magazines about barefoot shoes already in 1998!). One seminar, she was showing us her handmade barefoot shoes and I immediately wished this for myself and for my patients. This wish was so strong and so deep that it pulled me to start slowly searching [for] people educated in shoe making, construction and materials.
What makes Ahinsa unique?
As far as I know Ahinsa is still the only one company in the world, making at the same time “barefoot, vegan, ethical” shoes. Also all shoes are handmade and we have completely our own production, what is nowadays quite unique, because many other companies are outsourcing the production in Asia.
Was the process of starting and creating Ahinsa different from what you expected? How so?
To tell openly, I had no expectations. I just had this huge wish to do it. I went step by step and now I am everyday so thankful that it all went so nicely ! I got . . . great support from my parents and my yoga master Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. Clara [also] supported us a lot. I will never forget the day, when I told her that I wish to start with making barefoot shoes–she had tears in her eyes. Our success is also based on all great people in our company; we had great luck to find such a team. Only one lady is educated in shoe making, all others came from other professions and learned what was necessary.
What’s your widest toe box shoe? What’s your most natural shoe?
We have models called “barefoot professional” that are, as far as I know, the widest barefoot shoes on the market. The toe box width depends on the shoe size, but there is definitely enough space for toes in aligned position.
How have your shoes impacted your customer’s lives?
We have so much positive feedback and we are so thankful for this! Natural feet function is so essential for our body.
Do you offer adult and kid’s shoes?
Officially only adult shoes, but if somebody wishes, we [can] make kid’s sizes.
What is your biggest requested customization?
All Ahinsa shoes are handmade, so there is no problem to make any customization. Quite often we make customer’s different shoe sizes, different colors, different materials.
What is most inspiring about your job at Ahinsa?
Freedom and creativity! It’s very simple, these two things makes my life happy.
Do you have anything new and exciting in the works for later this year or next year?
There are so many new things prepared, our production is constantly in overload, so we are releasing the new models slowly. But main news for this autumn is:
1). Completely recycled shoes made from recycled PET bottles, and recycled cotton with soles from recycled motorcycle tires.
2). Hemp barefoot shoes.
3). New simpler black suede ankle shoes; we were testing them [for a] long time, and we are completely excited about them, so we hope that they will also make our customers happy.
What’s the best way for people to connect with you?
Our website, though email, or on Facebook.