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Cane toads are a shoe-in for fashion hit as they're turned into sneakers


Ormmorithy Vorng tries on a pair of Gideon shoes which are made partly with cane toad leather. Main pictures: Tomaz Machnik Source: The Daily Telegraph

Cane toad shoes

The shoes come in a range of colours and sell for $450
Source: The Daily Telegraph

Cane toad

Cane toads are finally being used for a good cause - sneakers Source: PerthNow

IT may not have any natural predators in the nation's food chain but the cane toad just got a new and deadly enemy - fashion.

Skin from the despised toads, which have wreaked havoc in the nation's north, have been turned into leather and combined with kangaroo hide to create high-fashion sneakers.

Despite costing up to $450 a pair, the Gideon Shoes are attracting strong interest, including from celebrities such as Jay Kay from Jamiroquai.

The shoes - to be launched next week - are not just fashionable but also support a good cause.

All profits from the brainchild of Matt and Rupert Noffs from the Ted Noffs Foundation will go to the charity's Street University - Australia's largest youth drop-in centre - in southwestern Sydney.

"We wanted to set something up that would help fund the Street University program and we are also passionate about ethics and want to change the way people look at fashion," Rupert Noffs said from New York yesterday.

To ensure the shoes are ethically produced without using sweat shop labour, they are all handmade in southwest Sydney.

"It is more expensive to make but the difference in price for the public doesn't change," he said.

"And, cane toads, as we all know, are pests so the shoes are sustainable.

"Their skins are extremely durable and they look amazing. Very bright colours."

The shoes are already getting attention in US fashion circles, with television personality and fashion PR powerhouse Kelly Cutrone signing up to the label yesterday.

"The Americans love their sneakers and the response over here is absolutely incredible," Mr Noffs said.

One of those Street University helped is Ormmorithy Vorng, who modelled the shoes yesterday, and Mr Noffs hopes to help many others.


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