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How Australian label Bared Footwear is transforming the footwear industry

WORDS BY SARAH NOONAN

See you never, old lady shoes.

“At the time, there were only shoes designed for old ladies. I was telling people to wear shoes I would never wear myself.”

When it comes to shoes, comfort and style are key. Unfortunately, most fashion labels tend to prioritise aesthetics over support, meaning our feet suffer in discomfort. But Australian brand Bared Footwear is challenging the status quo of fashion footwear by creating shoes that cater to aching feet without compromising on style. 


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Anna Baird, the brand’s founder and director, was frustrated by the uninspiring selection of supportive footwear on the market – footwear she was having to recommend to her clients during her time as a clinical podiatrist. Taking matters into her own hands, Anna created her own line of shoes that ticks all the boxes – style, comfort and support.

I sat down with Anna to talk about how Bared found success and the growing sustainable responsibility of all brands in the fashion industry.

Tell me a bit about Bared and the brand ethos.

To put it simply, there was a large gap in the market for shoes that were comfortable, supportive and fashionable. We started up in 2008 with a strong focus on these elements and with a sustainable responsibility in mind to produce a product that was good for everyone and good for the environment.

How do the shoes work? 

All of our shoes come with a supportive footbed that is designed to be super comfortable and supportive but apart from the support that our shoes offer we also really care about the fit of the shoes. When I worked with factories in the early days they hated the fact that I would sample a shoe 10 times to get the fit right. I was shocked to think that most brands actually really don’t care about the fit and comfort of the shoes.

Why do you think the brand has seen so much success in the last few years?

Our shoes are great looking and they feel great but I think a large reason for our success is our customer service. We really do employ only really lovely people that genuinely care about looking after our customers. We don’t have sales targets or KPIs and we don’t have policies and procedures. They all know the only thing that matters are happy customers who love their shoes and the experience.

Why is sustainability so important within the fashion industry?

We all have a responsibility to look after this planet and put a stop to the damage that is being done [to our environment]. It is frustrating when we take a good look into lots of brands at the moment and realise that most of their ‘eco-friendly’ changes are more about marketing than real changes. At Bared, we are spending a lot of time and money trying to improve our material choices and manufacturing process. We are not interested in making tokenistic changes. We want to make changes that will make a difference.

How is Bared encouraging a sustainable production process?

Last year when we discovered that many of our boxes were not actually being recycled because they had plastic tape on them we allocated some of our team to remove the plastic from every box before we found a company that has a facility that can remove the plastic and recycle the boxes. It cost us thousands of dollars in wages and it was a very dull job for our team but they really are all so committed to making a difference and they genuinely care.

We are working hard to reduce our carbon emissions but have also recently partnered with Greenfleet committing $50,000 to plant thousands of biodiverse native species to offset 3,300 tonnes of carbon. This year we want to use our social media platforms to educate our community on more ways that they themselves can make a difference too.

How else is Bared expanding its global impact?

I believe that we are so lucky to be born in this country and we are lucky that we have been able to build a great business with a great team and I feel as though we are obliged to give back. In 2019, we began our partnership with The Hunger Project , committing to the global UN movement to end world hunger by 2030. We also work with Children’s Ground who do wonderful work educating and empowering First Nations children and families. We are currently collaborating with a few local Indigenous artists for an upcoming campaign which is very exciting.

To shop Bared’s latest collection head here.

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