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Brief Published: 12 Jun 2019

Sustainable Footwear Solutions

Tread by Everlane

Numerous brands are turning their attention to sustainable footwear solutions as a means to replace damaging manufacturing processes with resourceful alternatives. We round up noteworthy projects that use innovative material developments and low-impact strategies.

  • American apparel brand Everlane is on a mission to produce the world’s most sustainable sneaker with its new line Tread. The trainers are designed to be long-lasting and are made using carefully considered low-impact materials. The sole is a blend of natural and post-industrial recycled rubber (making it 94.2% virgin plastic-free), while the laces and lining are made using recycled plastic bottles. The brand has partnered with third-party firms to offset the carbon emissions they can’t yet eliminate, justifying a carbon neutral status. 
  • German footwear brand Nat-2 pioneers eco-friendly footwear using innovative materials. A recent release is the Milk Line, made using QMilk. This felt-like material is formed using milk fibres from leftover milk which is not suitable for the food industry – a valuable but overlooked raw material. The fibres are combined with wool to create a soft felt, which is temperature regulating and antibacterial.
  • A concept sneaker from Nat-2 features a blood-red bio-leather panel made from meat industry waste. The shoe is a collaboration with Israeli designer Shahar Livne who develops sustainable materials using low-value byproducts from slaughterhouses. The waste products – such as fat, bones and blood – are processed into a substance than can be moulded or 3D-printed into a leather-like material. See Waste Pioneers for more material innovations using food industry waste.

  • US start-up DopeKicks has launched a waterproof, eco-friendly sneaker made from hemp. Hemp fibres are processed into yarns and woven into a durable textile – a process that consumes three times less water than the production of cotton. The shoes also feature recycled rubber soles, cork insoles and are manufactured using ethical labour.

Read our latest Macro Trend, Towards Our Sustainable Future, for more innovative eco-conscious strategies.  

Tread by Everlane
Nat-2 Milk Line
Nat-2 x Shahar Livne
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