In Vancouver, Native Shoes has introduced The Plant Shoe, a sneaker that is biodegradable, vegan, and can be composted. The launch is a step toward the company’s goal of becoming 100% “life-cycle managed” by 2023. The shoe is comprised of jute thread soaked in olive oil and glue made from natural latex.
“Sneakers are a complex product made with dozens of components, many being energy intensive to produce and do not break down in the environment,” Michael Belgue, Native Shoes’ creative director, tells The Vancouver Sun. “It was important for us to look at how we could design a shoe that would produce zero waste, looking at the shoe’s entire life cycle from start to finish. We were inspired to create something that wouldn’t need to be reused or recycled, but instead, generates zero waste. Something that was born from the earth and could go back into it.”
Native Shoe also has a “Remix Project” that collects and recycles Native Shoes. “The unique composition of our shoes can be reground into a versatile material that is useful in the creation of seating and playground flooring,” Belgue says. Approximately 300 million pairs of shoes are thrown out each year in the US.
The Plant Shoe is available in off-white and sells for $250.