A skateboarder turned champion for sustainability. - ect.studio

In 2015 Noel founded ekn footwear. The topics of style, sustainability and the question of how to combine these two had inspired him long before.

Growing up Noel spent large parts of his youth as a passionate skateboarder. In order to find out what makes a good skate shoe, he started cutting open his sneakers and quickly developed an interest in footwear design and optimization.

After graduating from high school, he moved to Washington D.C. and New York, where he took a job in a Brooklyn café and first saw sustainability as more than just a dusty reform house topic: environmental questions and hipness - in NYC, these two went hand in hand. In addition to his studies Noel took courses in biomechanics and sports science and began to get excited about running marathons. His interest in shoe fashion also continued, and he worked for New Balance and Adidas during his studies of communication science - until one day he found his way to Hess Natur, a global pioneer in sustainable textiles. Noel immerses himself in the world of ecofashion and becomes completely immersed in it. As key moment he describes a conversation with a farmer from Burkina Faso, who told him that the children in his village have been born healthy again after farming organic cotton. In this way, he delves deeper and deeper into the sustainability movement and develops a UNESCO-awarded business conference that focused on sustainability and business.

Noel decides to combine his experience in the eco-business and his passion for sneakers to found Germany‘s first sustainable sneaker label: ekn footwear was born. The road ahead was not easy at first. In a world build on unfairness. partners were hard to find to realize his vision. This was a a big challenge. Noel has mastered it.

See our ekn collection