Heart and sole: Parth and Karishma Dalal bring eco-friendly shoes to the market through Reroute

Written by: Mallik Thatipalli

Name: Parth and Karishma Dalal
Company: Reroute
What they do: Eco-friendly footwear made from sugarcane waste, recycled plastic bottles and premium merino wool. (Scroll to the end for details on where to buy)

(May 15, 2024) How many of us have bought shoes because they looked great only to discard them after realizing that they weren’t the most comfortable? Shoes, being non-degradable, end up in landfills and oceans, adding to environmental concerns. When first cousins Parth, 31, and Karishma Dalal, 39, from Surat heard a chance remark about youngsters discarding footwear after having worn it just a couple of times, they decided to do something and put their heads together. In 2023, after almost two years of research, the duo started ‘Reroute’, a brand that manufactures sustainable shoes using sugarcane residue and discarded plastic bottles as raw materials. 

Indian Entrepreneurs | Karishma and Parth Dalal | Global Indian

Karishma and Parth Dalal

Trendy, stylish, and comfortable, Reroute shoes have been making a mark since their inception. Started by the duo with a seed capital of Rs 10 lakh, they operate mostly on Instagram and are a hit with Gen Z, which relates to the brand’s aesthetic. 

An idyllic childhood 

The first cousins grew up in a large joint family in Surat, where Parth was the golden child, being the only boy in the family. He recalls, “It was an amazing time, and I grew up in a house full of people. Our family has been into business for generations, so we grew up in a very entrepreneurial culture.” 

While Parth studied pharmacy, Karishma, who was always interested in arts and crafts, studied fashion design. Parth went to the US in 2016 to get his Masters in Pharmaceutical Science from Long Island University. He also worked with Johnson & Johnson, where he picked up many skills, including understanding supply chains and sourcing. 

The cousins grew up in a family that was socially inclined and always discouraged waste. Parth adds, “My father was very socially conscious, and be it the plague or floods, he always helped out others. He always disliked the sight of waste clogging up beaches and spoke about recycling waste that can aid the environment.” 

An unconventional idea 

It was around COVID and after many discussions regarding footwear and waste, as well as a visit to a plastic processing plant, the young entrepreneurs thought of designing their own eco-friendly product. After two years of research, they came up with an option that was easily available and could ally with the environment. 

Parth came across a residue of sugarcane (one of the largest crops in India), slag, and worked with a Brazilian resin supplier who innovated sugarcane EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) copolymer derived from sugarcane. 


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The young entrepreneur explains, “First, we make pallets from plastic bottles, which are then melted into yarn. We then blend merino wool into it to make propitiatory threads. So, while the outsoles made from sugarcane EVA provide durability and flexibility to the shoe, yarns made from single-use plastic bottles and merino wool, with their natural antibacterial properties, provide comfort for long-day use.” 

Innovation to the fore 

Innovation was extremely necessary as the Indian footwear market is an extremely competitive space, with everyone from Chandni Chowk to Chor Bazaar using leather or synthetic rubber to keep costs low. These materials also require lot of water for processing and are hard to decompose when thrown away. 

Karishma adds, “We really invested in R and D. Members of our own family used our products for months and gave feedback. The idea behind development was simple: if we saw these products on a shelf, would we buy them? After rigorous beta testing, we launched the product.” 

The resulting product was light, airy, and comfortable, and each pair of shoes took about eleven recycled plastic bottles. Priced at Rs 2999, the initial word of mouth was positive, with celebrities like Dia Mirza cheerleading the young duo. The founders also very quickly understood and connected with their target base: doctors and software engineers who wore shoes all day long and vouched for their products, creating a positive ripple effect early on. 

Parth states, “We aim to be 100 percent carbon neutral. We are going in a direction that is completely organic, and in India’s footwear market, ours is an unconventional product.” 

A true partnership 

Having grown up together, Parth and Karishma have an excellent idea of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and, together, make a formidable team. Since both of them have a minimalistic approach to life, their product is sleek and sophisticated, with subtle colors and elegant craftsmanship. Their Instagram feed is all soft colors and lighter hues, reflecting their tilt towards the subtle. 

Karishma explains, “I handle major operations, end-to-end logistics, and the website, while Parth handles imports, new avenues, product development, and research. Working together, we respect each other’s expertise, and while we discuss each other’s decisions, we never question one another. Also, coming from a Gujarati business family, working with each other is in our blood and comes naturally to us, as we saw our grandparents, parents, and extended family run family businesses.” 


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Currently, their focus is on expanding their markets, both in India and abroad. The co-founder states, “My top priority is expanding to the US as the sustainability market is better established there. In India, we aim to increase our outreach as we are the only ones who are using a carbon-negative outsole.” 

With a whopping 35 percent month-on-month increase in business in the year they have started, things can only go north for the young brand. Made without regrets is the motto of their company, and after a conversation with the young team, one can see that it comes straight from the heart!

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