Monday, Dec 17, 2018 | Last Update : 11:31 PM IST

Daring to be different

THE ASIAN AGE. | PRIYA SREEKUMAR
Published : Dec 7, 2018, 12:28 am IST
Updated : Dec 7, 2018, 12:28 am IST

Meet Taran Chhabra of Neeman’s, who came up with the ‘environment-friendly’ shoes.

Taran Chhabra
 Taran Chhabra

The organic revolution has been sweeping the world with a large chunk of the population worrying about the source of their food and the kind of pesticides used. Most of us have made the switch to organic food and farm raised veggies and even organic cosmetics. However, it takes a rare kind of a man to think about using natural, renewable and sustainable fibre in his shoes — Merino wool. Yes, you read it right! Merino wool in a shoe, in a market dominated by synthetic fibres and petroleum-based material shoes.

Conceptualised in America, Neeman's Shoes are leading a culture of sustainability and comfort in the footwear space in India. The shoes have received accolades for using the finest Merino wool, which is breathable, odourless and sock-free. The idea for Neeman's started when founder, Taran Chhabra, an IT leader and avid traveller from New Jersey, struggled to find a shoe that truly provided all-day comfort. When Taran began his search, he was amazed at all the synthetic materials used— fibres both uncomfortable to wear and bad for the environment. The question on his mind was, “we look for better, nutritional and organic food; why don't we look for similar qualities in our shoes?” There, the idea for Neeman's was born.

So, how did an IT person foray into the world of shoes? Taran answers, “I have always had the passion to create something extraordinary. When the idea of starting a footwear brand struck me, I had tons of apprehensions on how I could pull it off. I am glad, I let all of them go and focused on one step at a time, learning the industry from ground up and working on how we could add value to the existing space. The fact that I don’t belong to this space has helped us think out of the box.” For someone who is into fitness and running and watches the nutritional aspect of the food he eats, the idea for shoes comes naturally! It took two years of long, detailed research and a development programme in London to come up with the ‘environment-friendly’ shoes.

Taran’s globe-trotting shoes have seen a lot of wear and tear since he loves to see the world. Talking about some of his most memorable travel experiences, he shares, “Every place is special in terms of culture, food and the people I meet. Some of my favourite places in the recent past are Seoul, London and Barcelona. Yosemite National Park is my favourite place of all the sites I have been to.” He also admits to being a big time foodie who loves trying out different types of beer as well as watching and playing cricket.

New Jersey is well suited to his work and he states, “The large Indian population we have here keeps me very close to my roots.” Before he signs off, there is one question that has to be asked: What is the young man's success mantra? He quips, “Do something you love, and life will be amazing every day.”

Tags: merino wool, environment friendly shoes