Gansu Province is the centre of the hemp manufacturing in North West China. Local craftsmen have made rope with hemp fibres for hundreds of years. An early application of the hemp rope was woven sandals. Chinese mythology says Fuxi, an ancient King born in Gansu, was the 1st to use hemp to make ropes and shoes.
Hemp sandals were worn by peasants and farmers but more recently in 1996 a local entrepreneur branded his shoes “Damoxing,” (walking in the desert) and sold 10,000 pairs to the United States. The vegan shoes proved popular and when the factory received more overseas orders they hired three designers from Italy, France and Japan. The factory employs more than 200 local farmers who make a range of hemp footwear from slippers and sandals to sneakers. The popular Hemp Shoes are lightweight , airy and kill bacteria due to the alkaline nature of the rope.