Written by J.L.Ruston. 

Shoes. We just can’t get enough of them. Whilst shoes are an item we think we’d be worse off without, you’re super great great great great great great grandparents would have likely turned their nose up at the restriction that modern day shoes have on your body. Flexible, Flat, Feather light and Foot shaped is how they have been enjoyed for centuries, Paperkrane shoes are adding Fun into the mix and bringing them back with moral integrity being the core of the businesses success. 

The next three blocks are an optional read, however if you’re interested in a short history of shoe development and how comfort is laying in disguise, continue on ahead. 

So when Kate Corleison and Zara Cooper boomed into the Australian market with their Japanese origami inspired PaperKrane barefoot shoes, you can bet the public went crazy more crazy for these shoes than they did in 2020 over a mullet hair cut. Aussies have been reaping the benefits of our ancestors’ joint longevity before they had time to even hit the shelves.

A baby bootie which had a humble beginning, in a garage with a sewing machine and a dream, is now multiple styles of shoes for all ages, recorrecting our natural posture, healing people all over the world. Zara, co-founder of Paperkrane describes the early day hysteria rush.

“Kate built this incredible baby bootie inspired by a japanese paper crane that everyone who was anyone had to have and you’d be sitting there, drop time would be Friday 8pm, You’d be ready.… fingers on the keyboard like buying tickets for a Michael Jackson concert…. and you would STILL miss out. After 15 seconds they were gone. It was insane.”

At this excitingly turbulent time, the new best friends were roaring on fire with absolutely unstoppable passion for the empire they could see was being built. Zara had recently relieved herself from the social constraints of public expectation for her to take up and continue to unenthusiastically bumble through a lawyer career that had raised false expectations following a vibrant university degree. 

Whilst practicing law full time, Zara studied fashion on the weekends, went on to run her own boastful immigration law firm, welcome baby number three, discover a repressed attraction to women which brought a close to her marriage, all the while still have space in her mind for innovation that she would go on to use and benefit the lives of many.  

By this time she was baby fashion crazy. Zara discovered Kate’s new venture, Paperkrane baby booties, made herself a customer and life as she knew it began to change forever. 

“I just had this feeling in my stomach, I can’t explain it. It was like I just knew that I could turn this into a global footwear brand. I was thinking about adult shoes, older kids. I just knew. That feeling wouldn’t go away and so I approached her. We struck up a friendship and got to know each other and I just came out with it and said, Listen, [Kate] I think I could turn this into a global company. I’ve been running a law firm, I’ve got experience running a business and would you be interested in coming together as a partnership and seeing where this goes?  She was like, yeah let’s do it and so that’s what we’ve been doing ever since.”

Google images

Some might look at that as a risk, but when the idea is backed up by successful science and health professionals across the globe, mixed with their energy, successful deliverance was the only item on the menu. 

 “It is well researched, documented and not even argued that when babies and toddlers are starting to walk, they should be as barefoot as often as possible and in shoes that interfere minimally with their natural gait. So the question is, why does that then change? Because our feet aren’t fully developed till we’re adults. Why all of a sudden Do we go oh well, when they’re learning to walk, it makes sense for them to be barefoot so their natural gait develops and their natural movement, but yet their bones still aren’t formed until long after that but we all of a sudden shift them into tight supportive chunky shoes? It doesn’t make sense.”

A typical school shoe widely thought of as safe and appropriate, actually not making room for bones to develop correctly

With zero experience in running a global footwear brand, but Zara being fluent in English, Russian/ ukrainian and Hebrew, not many corners of the map were off limits to their dreams and with research and development being the first logical place to begin, these ladies to this day make one hell of a fun time out of it touring the states and south east asian countries. This all starts at home. Zara and her family are the main guinea pigs for new release shoes to make sure they are comfortable and of course stylish. 


Kate [right] and Zara [left] on their recent work trip to the US both wearing Paperkrane shoes as their now normal every day shoes. Supplied.

The drive to want to learn can be the make or break of any business. Kate and Zara looked the unknown in the face and got to work rather than spending their life savings on other people to do the work for them. Both mothers demonstrate to their children how to take proud responsibility for your own future success, which they communicate with honest transparency. 

Like we don’t know everything. In fact, we don’t know anything when it’s and we only learn by experiencing it and sort of weathering the storm that each new experience brings about”

Such is life with absolutely anything, there will be objections. Barefoot shoes haven’t been in the spotlight for a long time outside of niche practices. With a society that has grown to enjoy the comfort of snug arch fitting shoes and premature hip pain, Zara explains the medical benefits of wearing Paperkrane barefoot shoes. 

Now running a multi million global shoe brand Zara explains to The Jolly Times, “We work with a lot of podiatrists and they say, if you have issues, if you have pains, you should be treating those pains with functional movement patterns, strength exercises, doing balance exercises, mobility, functionality, and……. wearing barefoot shoes. This is how you heal your body naturally. This is how you build strength.

There’s two schools of thought in podiatry. One  using splints, orthotics and foot medications to heel foot issues. The problem with that is you’re not addressing what’s causing the issues, which is most often the footwear.

Barefoot footwear improves so many body aches and pains that you don’t even realise come from your footwear. Feet have thousands of sensors at the bottom that communicate with your brain and the purpose of that is your whole body then shifts its gait and its movement patterns to accommodate the messages that the feet which are in contact with the ground are transporting to the brain. [You know those little rocky floor sections they make you walk over in a spa type house with different textured pebbles…… that’s to send your brain the right kind of messages through your feet, not just for fun design]

It’s logic actually you can’t deny that. If I told you to jump off the table barefoot, a high table right? You’re not going to jump on your heels, your body is instinctively going to find a way for you to land that’s not going to crush your heel bone.

More benefits of barefoot shoes as explained on the paperkrane website.

But if you’re altering that with really cushioned shoes with a heel spring, you’re probably going to jump on your heels and feel like you’ve jumped on a cloud and that is terrible. That heel impact happens, your foot is not communicating with your brain and therefore your movement is incorrect. So whilst it might not be hurting your heel when you’re wearing a cushion shoe, I promise you, your knees, your hips, your joints are feeling the brunt of that incorrect landing and the reason why you’re incorrectly landing is because your feet are not communicating with your brain.”

As a past rocker of Dr Martens, Jordans any brand new hot running shoe coming out, Zara and her kids now almost exclusively wear Paperkrane barefoot shoes and feels younger than ever for it.

Zara with a Paperkrane hightop. Supplied.

“I cannot wear them anymore. I cannot stand even after half an hour. My feet are primed and perfectly used to barefoot shoes. Sometimes I wear crocs but other than that I can’t wear anything other than our shoes so we’re not trying to send this message to make money or peddle our shoes. We’re sending this message because we live it. We believe in it. We have so many people who have converted to them. 93% of our customer base repurchase our shoes and there’s a reason for that.”

If by now you are thinking wow, what a wonder woman, then you’re running along a common track. Firm with her thoughts and confident in her choices with happiness and health at the front of it all [and her children of course] Zara has truly let herself lead the way, followed her gut, and been rewarded for it. From career changes to sexual changes, she’s open about being afraid to take the step, but being more afraid to not change a thing and live an unfulfilling life for the sake of nerves. A trap that most of us find ourselves getting trapped into lethargically does absolutely not have to be your normal standard for life. There have been so many character strengths to draw from Zara so far and they run until the end, she blueprints the ways she musters the courage to bring freedom to live into her life. 

Zara’s now girlfriend was in fact the one who introduced her to Paperkrane shoes. Both mums within the Jewish community having never fancied another woman before, found themselves on a track they couldn’t turn back from. 

“The best way that I can explain it, was like someone’s holding a hand over your face, and you need to breathe and you’ll do anything to take a breath.  That’s when I knew ‘I have to explore this’ and I did and it was scary it was huge. But my decision was I’ll do this with truth. I’ll do this with dignity. I’ll do this with love, honesty and respect for all stakeholders. I was always very honest with my ex husband. From the moment I developed  crush-like feelings on my best friend I was quite vocal with him. I was always honest. And I think that’s what I’m trying to say is there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. I think the universe, if you’re in tune with it, is quite good at communicating with you. If you listen, you’ve then got to make the decision in the most humane, compassionate way that takes care of other people’s hearts who are affected by your decision to do whatever it is, whether it be a business decision, leap into a huge lifestyle change or life change, separate with a partner you’ve been with etc”

Zara, Co-owner of paperkrane. Supplied

With the new couple now having 5 kids between them, they knew to take into account their feelings, slow adjustments and show them that change can be the most liberating experience as they grow past the pain with a speech that can be applied with a one size fits all sticker for any walk of life. 

“I’ll always keep reminding you that Dad and I both love you. And this is going to be really hard and as a family right now we’re stepping onto hot coals, and we’re gonna walk them holding each other’s hands. It’s going to hurt, it’s going to be scary, but at the end of the pit, we will reach it. There’ll be a better place than we’re in now. We’ve got to walk the hot coals to get to a better place.” and that’s sort of how I told them. So I wasn’t denying that it’s going to be hard and challenging. I did it with honesty, and that’s always how I’ve tried to be with people in my life and then when I came out to them they were absolutely amazing.”

Now flourishing within a supportive and wholesome relationship where the pair bring each other back down to watch amongst the mayhem of business and mothering. 

Zara continues to explain her open communication parenting, 

“I’m bringing up my kids going, guys, marriage is beautiful. But if you don’t want to, I’m not going to push it and it’s not essential. You can have kids without it. And you know what, if one day you do find someone you want to marry, and you promise to be with them forever, no one’s going to hold you to that promise. If things change, don’t feel like a failure because what you feel when you’re 23 is going to be really different to what you feel when you’re 43 and that’s okay. As opposed to us which was like getting married and having children by 30. I think that’s why so many people are disconnected from their lives because they were conditioned to believe this is the way you should live life and you’re wrong If you veer from that.”


Paper cranes in Japanese culture are a symbol of honour, good fortune, loyalty and longevity. There is an ancient belief that if someone had the patience to fold 1000 cranes they would be granted one wish to come through. When the Americans dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan in 1945, the radiation effects still devastated generations today. The city then saw a flood of cranes, thousands and thousands of people committing to senbazuru, the folding of 1000 cranes, in hope of their wishes for peace, health and safety of their loved ones to be verified. If you travel to Hiroshima today, you will still see hundreds and thousands of origami peace crane ropes beginning colourful vibrancy to the air, the very same vibrancy and message that is consumed withiN Paperkrane shoes since the very beginning. 


Never knock something until you’ve tried it! If you’re feeling a little too young to be feeling your hip the way you are right now, then have a look down and see what you could try changing about that 🙂

Paperkrane on holiday

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