Walking the Walk
When Cliff Drill shows people this photo, many folks don’t realize it’s a tire dump right away. And each time you get your tires changed, there’s a pretty good chance your tires are going to end up on a pile like this. Not pretty.
But that’s where Cliff steps in. Rescuing tires before they hit the landfill, Cliff turns them into flip flops he considers, “Fashionable, functional, durable, and comfortable.”
Cliff is probably the first person in the United States to craft discarded tires into reliable footwear. He prefers to work with race car tires– their tread patterns are more intriguing, and add a bit of style to his flip flops.
Each sandal is handmade with careful deliberation and each tire is carefully inspected before it makes the cut.
After removing the side walls, the tire is cleaned and brushed, and the top layer of wear and tear is removed. This process gives the finished sandals the look and feel of new rubber. As many drivers know, car tires can wear unevenly, but Cliff makes sure that the left and right foot of each pair is perfectly balanced.
Cliff first saw a prototype for recycled tire flip flops on a surfing trip in Mexico. They were creatively made, and Cliff was inspired. But he also saw room for improvement. He worked hard to polish the design, and ensure that each pair of flip flops is ready for walking– on the beach, the boardwalk, or anywhere your feet can take you.
But figuring out how to make a quality flip flop using 95% recycled materials just wasn’t enough. See after making a pair of flip flops, Cliff was still stuck with parts of left over tires. So he began to experiment, finding ways to turn the excess material into a cushioned foot-bed for the flip flops and packaging for the box.
“It’s a big Willy Wonka endeavor that we do here,” he says. The game is to make sure that no piece of the tire ends up in a landfill.
And it’s a game you can play too. Cliff says the secret to recycling is to keep it fun. Going out of your way to keep something out of the trash takes a bit of extra work. But if you put your creative flair on it, like Cliff did with his artisanally made flip flops, it’s not a huge burden.
Pledging to switch to a reusable coffee mug? Why not decorate it, and make it your own! Pledging to stick to eco-friendly clothing? Try out Cliff’s recycled rubber flip flops, and let him know how you like his design!