Eco-friendly vintage trainer upcycling business run by family fighting to ‘stem the flow of fast fashion’ opens new warehouse in Waterlooville

A FAMILY upcycling business turning sad sneakers into trendy trainers has opened its new warehouse in Waterlooville.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 3:00 pm

The team at Vintage Trainers take unloved shoes and restore and clean them before selling them on at a low price.

A couple of hundred visitors came to see the eco-friendly business’s new showroom on London Road when it officially opened on Saturday.

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From left: Mat Shaul, co-founder with his daughter Lauren and her partner Matt. Picture: Sam Stephenson

Co-founder Mat Shul said: ‘It’s been amazing, a great response considering all the hecticness of social media.

‘Going really good, we’ve had a constant stream of people coming in.’

Founded at the beginning of lockdown by Mat, his daughter Lauren, and her boyfriend Matt, the idea for Vintage Trainers grew from a desire to cut down on the number of waste items being sent to landfill.

Mat said: ‘My daughter and her boyfriend - who live with us - were both furloughed by McDonalds at the beginning of the first lockdown.

Opening of Vintage Trainers in Waterlooville. Picture: Sam Stephenson

‘We were sat talking one evening when Lauren mentioned that there were over 300 million pairs of trainers just thrown away every year, just in the UK.

‘That obviously sparked some conversation and we thought we would try and do something about it.’

The three co-founders, as well as Mat’s wife Fran and niece Marianne, welcomed customers through the doors at the warehouse opening over the weekend.

Mat said: ‘I feel very proud of everything that the three of us have achieved, and happy at the response we’re getting from local people.

Vintage Trainers customers can donate any unwanted trainers that the team will refurbish and give to people who cannot afford the right footwear they need to do the job or sport that they want to do. Picture: Sam Stephenson

‘It’s really nice seeing the smiling people.’

The warehouse will also have a donation cage where customers can donate unwanted trainers that Vintage Trainers can refurbish and give to people who cannot afford the right footwear they need for jobs or sports that they want to do.

As well as ladies and mens trainers, the warehouse also upcycles children’s shoes.

The Vintage Trainers showroom launched on October 30. Picture: Sam Stephenson

Mat said: ‘We all know that they grow out of their footwear far too quick, so why just dispose of the old trainers, when you can trade them in for a bigger size?

‘We are about helping locally where we can. We are about supporting local families where we can.

‘We are about trying to stem the flow of fast fashion. We want to make a difference.’

As well as taking donations and purchasing shoes from charity shops, Vintage Trainers also buys second-hand sneakers from people wanting to part with their shoes.

Mat said: ‘We’ll fully refurb and clean, all of the products are eco-based products - bamboo lotion, eco solution, everything is non-harmful to the environment.

‘This whole project is born out of a passion to help people to shop sustainably.

‘Everybody wants to do the right thing, but they need someone like us to facilitate that for them.

‘We’re helping people to shop sustainably whilst saving them money.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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