Regenerative fibers and water-based textile coatings make for sustainable shoes

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In Germany, Covestro and the Austria-based Lenzing Group developed environmentally-compatible polyurethane (PU) synthetics for the shoe industry. It uses Tencel Lyocell fiber from Lenzing, which is derived from cellulose and in the end from wood. The polyurethane textile coating used here is based on waterborne INSQIN technology from Covestro.

The environmental compatibility of coated textiles depends on a whole series of factors. For example, the source of the raw materials, the use of organic solvents and the consumption of energy and water are important. The global warming potential of water-based PU coatings that use the INSQIN technology is considerably lower than that of solvent-based systems. The TENCEL Lyocell fiber from Lenzing reduces the ecological footprint of synthetic leather just as much, primarily because it is manufactured using an innovative recycling process that conserves resources.

“As a result, the shoe industry now has access to PU synthetics that set new standards in terms of sustainability – made possible by the combination of unique and innovative solutions from both partners,” says Thomas Michaelis, head of textile coatings at Covestro for the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America (EMEA/LA) region.