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Former Nike, Adidas executives launch footwear brand for Indian children, teenagers

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Bengaluru-based startup Plaeto is a direct-to-costumer initiative that makes shoes for the ones aged three to eighteen.

Former Nike, Adidas executives launch footwear brand for Indian children, teenagers

Three former executives of global footwear behemoths Nike and Adidas have started a venture to make shoes for Indian children.  The startup, known as Plaeto, is a direct-to-costumer initiative that makes shoes for children and teenagers.

Plaeto’s founders Ravi Kallayil, Sara Kilgore and Pavan Kareti have a collective experience of three decades of working at Nike and Adidas. They quit their jobs in 2020, and embarked on Plaeto’s Foot Morphology Research on Indian kids’ feet. Based on their research, these shoes were developed by designers and footwear engineers from India, the US, and Italy.

“We saw an opportunity to bring innovative thinking to make the best-performing shoes for the Indian child,” said Kallayil, co-founder and CEO of the Bengaluru-based startup.

Studies reveal that poorly designed shoes can lead to structural development issues in kids. Plaeto’s research showed that 30 percent of children in India wore shoes of the wrong size.

“Kids not having access to quality/comfortable footwear prevents them from playing altogether, which can be detrimental to their physical and mental health," said Kilgore, who heads the firm’s product design centre at Portland, USA.

Funded by angel investors, Plaeto targets 30 percent of the 300 million children in India through its products and programs. The startup will later expand to Africa, where accessibility to good footwear is still a challenge, the company statement said. The firm’s long-term strategy includes foray into Europe and the US as well.

With the hope to reduce the planet’s carbon footprint, Plaeto shoes use eco-friendly reusable cotton bags for packaging, created in collaboration with Faircraft Creations. Faircraft Creations is a non-profit women’s self-help group based in rural Karnataka.

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