Local “Pineapple Shoes” – Global Impact

Josh Thiede and Andrea Watros of Pickerington-based Organic Garments visit Good Day Columbus.

January 4, 2023
By POL Intern Reporter Hope Schmidt

What do you get when you mix your favorite tropical fruit with a fresh pair of kicks? 

Well, Pickerington resident and CEO Josh Thiede has found the answer, and it might not be what you would expect. “OG Pineapples “are the new plant-based footwear distributed right here from Central Ohio. Made from pineapple leaves and hemp, these new sneakers are an eco-friendly alternative to your favorite shoe. With the help of CFO Andrea Watros, Organic Garments has begun to sweep the nation, bringing innovative and sustainable sneakers right to your door. 

Why go the eco-friendly route of footwear you may ask? “Landfills are filled with sneakers that do not biodegrade,” Watros explains. 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nine million tons of shoes and clothing end up in landfills each year, hurting the beautiful planet we all call home. Thiede and Watros do not want this to continue being our reality.

Because of that, the pair entered the sustainable fashion market. 

“We wanted the fabrics to be plant-based, super strong and comfortable,” Watros states. “Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants, produces more fiber per acre than any other crop, and leaves the soil in excellent shape.” 

Ananas Anam, the maker of the Piñatex Fabric used for the shoes said, “No extra land, fertilizer or pesticides are used to produce the natural, soft, vegan product that looks like leather.  It is strong, lightweight and flexible. Piñatex is PETA-approved and uses Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified pigments to add color to the fabric.  After the fiber is extracted from the leaf, the biomass that is left can be used as a natural fertilizer or biofuel.”

It is clear that these new-age fabrics are great for the environment, but do they stand up to the test of great casual fashion for shoes? Well, yes they do! 

Thiede explains that customers are really enjoying the aesthetics and comfort factor of Organic Garment footgear, calling them “the most comfortable shoe they’ve ever worn.” 

The shoes have a slick-looking design, and are available in either black or white to bring together any casual outfit.  

“Sustainability can also be stylish,” Watros explains. 

While eco-friendly shoes have been around for several years, they haven’t always looked appealing.

“That’s where we come in.” Thiede said. “To be that plant-based, go-to sneaker that everyone can go to that is affordable but also stylish. Once they try them on, everyone becomes completely obsessed with them.”

The phrase “plant your feet” can be seen imprinted on the soles of the shoes, adding a little extra magic to some already charming kicks. 

To get your own pair, head over to organicgarments.com where you can purchase sizes ranging from women’s size 5 to men’s size 12. The price including shipping and handling is $115 – an absolute bargain compared to other sustainable shoes on the market today. 

What’s next for the Organic Garments company? Well, this is only the beginning for this budding business. 

“This is just a stepping stone for us to really plant our feet in this market,” Watros explained. Thiede and Watros are currently tossing around ideas for other styles and materials such as mushrooms, apples, bananas and cacti. A high-top version of the “OG Pineapples” will be available later this year.

Although Thiede and Watros now have customers and employees around the globe, there is one place both entrepreneurs come back to every time – Pickerington. 

“Our journey begins with plant-based sneakers here in our Pickerington backyard!” Watros vocalized. 

To get your very own pair of “OG Pineapple” shoes, check out the Organic Garments website today! 

The hemp and pineapple fibers are sourced from Vietnam then shipped to Piñatex Fabric in the Phillipines, where the fabric is made and the shoes are constructed.

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