Plastic might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of shoes. But one important Part of modern shoes, including the soles and uppers, are made from plastic materials. The billions of pairs of discarded shoes, flip flops and sandals that end up in dumps each year, it takes hundreds of years to break down and put a substantial environmental challenge. The Californian company Blueview hopes to relieve the problem with what they claim is the world’s first entirely compostable shoe.
“As a surfer, I have seen firsthand how our oceans are affected by plastic pollution,” said Tom Cooke, co-founder and president of Blueview. “By uniting my skill in the footwear industry with the advances developed by our scientific team, I am proud to provide our customers with access to the first biodegradable shoe.”
To accomplish his quest, Cooke teamed up with Dr. Stephen Mayfield, a biology professor at UC San Diego. Mayfield and his team had been working on ways to transform algae fuel for many years. When approached by Cooke, they focused on developing a plant-based high performance biodegradable material.
It took the team six years to create Soleic, a mousse This is robust enough to replace the petroleum-based foam used in the soles of most shoes. The researchers then turned their Warning to create PlantKnit, a machine-knit upper material for sneakers made entirely from plant fibers. The resulting shoe successfully decomposes in compost bins – or even in the ground or the ocean – in a year.
The company affirms that the Blueview shoes, available online for $135, are sustainable and comfortable and can be treated like any other shoe. The only difference? When it’s time to throw them away, the only thing you’ll leave behind are footprints.
Resources: Universityofcalifornia.edu, Newatlas.com, blueviewfootwear.com