Former Nike and Apple Executives Launch Plaeto, Pioneering Footwear Brand for Indian Children

Ravi Kallayil, Sara Kilgore and Pavan Kareti have a collective experience of three decades working with global footwear brands such as Nike and Adidas. In 2020, the trio quit their dream jobs to create an innovative Made in India shoe brand, designed specifically for Indian children, at an affordable price. Since then, they have carried out extensive market research, R&D, and established cutting-edge capabilities for product innovation.

The founders today officially announced the launch of Plaeto, the first Indian foot health-focused D2C brand to design and deliver ‘shoes for growing feet’ for Indian children aged three to eighteen. . Based on the extensive knowledge of Plaeto’s foot morphology research spanning thousands of hours of research on Indian children’s feet, the science-based shoes were developed by a team of shoe designers and engineers. from the United States, Italy and India.

Funded by renowned angel investors, Plaeto was born with the aim of giving Indian children world-class footwear that takes care of their feet and helps them grow strong, active and healthy. The one-of-a-kind shoes are made with durable, tough, yet super tough materials, making them ideal partners for adventurous, active, busy and playful feet, or just letting kids be kids.

Presenting innovation to the market, Ravi Kallayil, CEO & VSo-founder, Plaeto, noted, “In 2011, a 10 year old from Bangalore sent me a handwritten letter asking for a discount on a Nike shoe and it sparked a long quest to find the answer to a simple question, ‘How can we make a great shoe for Indian children at an affordable price? ‘ After nearly a decade of development work, I realized the only way to get there was to go ahead and build it. In 2020, amid the global upheavals caused by the pandemic, I quit my “best job in the world” with Nike Innovation in the US and moved to India to become an entrepreneur.

“We saw an opportunity to bring innovative thinking to make the best performing shoes designed for the Indian child. Also, when we built the shoe, we felt it was our responsibility to do it in a way that leaves planet Earth a better place to inherit children ”, added Ravi.

Sara Kilgore, Co-Founder and Design Director, Plaeto (who runs the company’s product design center in Portland, US), said: “Children who do not have access to quality / comfortable shoes prevent them from playing fully which can adversely affect their physical and mental health. With Plaeto, our mission is to bring the joy of play to every Indian child, through quality and durable shoes.

Studies show that poorly designed shoes can lead to structural problems in the development of the foot and body in children. On top of that, Plaeto’s research found that 30% of Indian children wear the wrong size. “Given my background in psychology and my knowledge of shoe design, manufacturing and engineering, launching Plaeto was the obvious next step. The health of the planet and the health of individuals are both paramount. People everywhere deserve quality products so that they can live a good life. For Plaeto, it starts with the shoes ”, Sara declared.

“To advance the impact on the planet, sustainable products must be made more accessible to consumers. Plaeto is a demonstration of this idea ”, noted Bruce Kilgore, Plaeto’s mentor. Bruce, the former head of innovation for Nike and the designer of AirForce1, the world’s best-selling footwear franchise, has designed and developed shoes for the world’s top athletes, including Michael Jordan during his 35 years of shoe design and innovation.

Bengaluru-based brand aims to impact at least 30% of India’s 300 million children through their products and programs. In terms of global expansion, the plan is to examine markets, such as Africa, where accessibility to good footwear is a challenge. The long-term strategy also includes spreading the idea of ​​accessible sustainability to developed markets, such as Europe and the United States.

The Plaeto advantage

  • FitSystem: Plaeto shoes have an exclusive Fitliner, which can be removed when the child grows out of the shoe. This gives up to an extra half size and 2-3 more months of use of the same product, without compromising on fit, comfort and performance.
  • Asymmetrical Lacing: This unique eccentric lacing design allows for maximum flexibility and avoids restrictive lace pressure by aligning with the natural curvature of the foot
  • Plaeto365: The exclusive Plaeto365 midsole is responsive, provides good support and provides comfort to the feet even after a year of use
  • Durability: Plaeto shoes not only protect growing feet, but are also more environmentally friendly. The carbon footprint is 6.5 kg of CO2 equivalent / pair, which is about 50% less than an average sports shoe. The brand also uses eco-friendly packaging (reusable cotton bags) created in partnership with Faircraft Creations, a nonprofit women’s support group in the Karnataka countryside.

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