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Former Nike and Adidas Executives Launch Footwear Brand for Indian Children and Teens


Three former executives of global shoe giants Nike and Adidas have started a business to make shoes for Indian children. The startup, known as Plaeto, is a direct-to-customer sales initiative that makes shoes for children and teens.

The founders of Plaeto, Ravi Kallayil, Sara Kilgore and Pavan Kareti, have a collective experience of three decades working at Nike and Adidas. They quit their jobs in 2020 and embarked on research on the morphology of Plaeto’s foot on the feet of Indian children. Based on their research, these shoes were developed by shoe designers and engineers from India, USA 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 start-up.

Studies show that poorly designed shoes can lead to structural development problems in children. Plaeto’s research showed that 30% of children in India wore the wrong size shoes.

“Children who do not have access to quality / comfortable shoes prevent them from playing fully, which can adversely affect their physical and mental health,” said Kilgore, who heads the company’s product design center. in Portland, United States.

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

In the hope of reducing the planet’s carbon footprint, Plaeto shoes use reusable, eco-friendly cotton bags for packaging, created in collaboration with Faircraft Creations. Faircraft Creations is a non-profit women’s support group based in rural Karnataka.

First publication: STI

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