Canadian footwear brand, Native Shoes, has released unisex sneakers that are made entirely from environmentally friendly materials including those from eucalyptus, pineapple skin and dried Hevea milk. In an effort to offer consumers high-quality, no-waste footwear, they have designed shoes made of plant components in the form of compost and are free of animal products.
Native Shoes Reduces Shoe Waste in the World
In the United States alone, residents throw away at least 300 million pairs of shoes each year, and most end up in landfills. Sneakers are the worst culprit of waste, mostly made of plastic or chemically treated materials that make it impossible to decompose. Using natural materials such as organic cotton, linen, olive oil, and cork means protecting the earth against damage in a relatively short time.
The outside of the sneaker is made from natural latex lactae hevea – a substance produced from rubber trees. This material does not contain petrochemical catalysts which are usually found in other rubber materials advertised as natural materials.
After sneakers have reached the end of their lives, consumers can place them in green bins where materials will decompose faster through the composting process. All of this thanks to the ability of latex to decompose by micro-organisms that are naturally replicated in the compost environment. The center of the shoe is made from a combination of 90 percent cork and the remaining 10 percent comes from the Mexican agave plant that is cultivated for fiber production. The insoles are formed from corn and kenaf, fibrous plants native to middle-east Africa.
Eucalyptus is used to make the shoe base, while organic linen is used as the material for the shirt. The upper part consists of a mixture of pineapple skin and organic cotton. This does not include the first industrial polyurethane coating for this type of material, said the brand.
Each of these materials is bound together using flax yarn soaked with olive oil and natural latex-based glue, while the sneaker itself is woven with 100% organic cotton rope. “The brand wants to create a timeless silhouette and the two most difficult areas to solve are the sole and the mechanical bond between the upper and lower soles,” Native Shoes said.
“We know that pure hevea latex without additives can be the only solution for soles, and we need to sew the top of the sol and midsole together, so working on materials and construction techniques will enable us to achieve that,” he added.
Plant Shoe from Native Shoes
Plant Shoe was inspired by its mission to be 100 percent environmentally friendly by 2023, and this is the product of two years of extensive research and material testing.
“The next step beyond our current recycling initiative is to create something that does not need to be reused or recycled, but produces zero waste,” the company said. Something that was born from this earth and can return back to the earth. “This attractive design opens the door to sustainable innovation as we move towards our goals and reorganize product offerings for the future,” he added.
Native Shoes is not the only brand to fight for vegan material in shoemaking. Fashion label Hugo Boss launched a series of similar material for vegan men’s shoes earlier this year made from Piñatex natural ingredients consisting of pineapple leaf fibers. Likewise with fashion designer Stella McCartney collaborating with Adidas to design the classic Stan Smith vegan shoes.