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Sustainable fashion is all the rage right now. Brands are launching everything from low-carbon vegan kicks to recycled underwear. But the eco sneaker space? It’s booming with innovation, with designers now using waste to create new shoes. Here, we spotlight some of our favourite upcycled sneakers to date.
1. Undo For Tomorrow: upcycled party balloons and rubber tyres
Lisbon-based Undo For Tomorrow are creating their sustainable sneakers out of upcycled party balloons. Yes, those pesky bits of tiny plastic fragments are being turned into colourful soles for the brand’s Nuven shoe. Plus, the company also uses discards from rubber tyres that would otherwise be tossed in the landfill.
2. Good News: upcycled banana and grape skins
Good News have partnered with Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M to create a unisex collection of retro-style sneakers. These kicks use Banantex, a durable and waterproof fibre extracted from banana plants. It also features the plant-based leather Vegea, which is made from grape skins leftover from wine production.
3. Pangaia: upcycled grapes and industrial waste
London brand Pangaia are also using upcycled grape skins, stalks and seeds from the wine industry to make their zero-waste sneakers. But in addition to that, they’re repurposing industrial waste to make the rubber soles of the shoe. Even the ends of their laces are made using upcycled plastic ends (and stuck together with bio-based glue).
4. Thousand Fell: upcycled corn and recovered plastic
Thousand Fell, a startup in New York, is turning corn waste into new shoes. Yes, corn waste is used to make the bio-based resin that coats the sneakers, making them durable and water-resistant. Thousand Fell has also incorporated plastic waste, coconut husks and fibre from palm leaves to make their minimalist sneakers.
5. Nike: upcycled factory scraps and tees
Of course, sneaker giant Nike is jumping on the trend too. Last year, the company debuted its Space Hippie collection featuring vegan fabrics and upcycled materials made from recovered plastic bottles and textile factory waste. That means t-shirts and yarn scraps are being given a new life in these ultra-modern kicks.
Lead image courtesy of Thousand Fell.