Sneakers are one wardrobe staple that no-one wants to do without. So, why not choose vegan, sustainable and Italian-made sneaks that won’t pollute the planet? But when it comes to alternative materials, how do we know which ones are truly environmentally friendly? Let’s take a look at this dilemma in today’s post.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF SNEAKERS
Did you know that a sneaker can even be made up of 40 different components? Yes, you read it right: 40. And most of the time, we are talking about synthetic materials, plastics (even 3-4 different types), metals and chemical adhesives that stop waste from being disposed of properly and recycled. The bottom line? Three pairs of shoes per person end up in a landfill site every year worldwide.
WOMSH: CHANGE STARTS FROM THE RAW MATERIALS
We can confidently say that our sneakers are environmentally friendly at every phase of the production chain. And when we say sustainable, we mean that nothing has been left to chance – from raw materials right up to the packaging. Each single part of our products has been carefully studied to reduce the impact on the environment to a minimum.
METAL-FREE LEATHER LINING
The leather-processing sector holds the dubious distinction of being one of the 10 most polluting industries on the planet due to the environmental hazards created by the various working phases. High levels of energy consumption, the difficulties of production waste disposal, discharge of particles into the atmosphere and dispersion into water of substances which are harmful to the environment and human beings are just a few of the issues at stake.
So, can leather be eco-friendly, then? The answer is yes, but only if we abide by the following rules: respecting Italian procedures and standards, which are the strictest in Europe, treating hides only with substances that do not damage human beings and the environment, sourcing leather from livestock holdings for meat production, thus retrieving waste that would otherwise be thrown away.’
This is why we have chosen Bianca, a metal-free tanned leather which we use for the uppers of some styles and the linings for the whole collection. Bianca is obtained from a special tanning process which does not involve the use of heavy metals or chemicals, thus safeguarding both nature and human health.
THE UPPERS: MADE FROM APPLE WASTE
Hardwearing, waterproof, outperforming, lustrous and soft to the touch. Appleskin is an innovative material with very similar characteristics to leather, but it is completely vegan and entirely environmentally friendly. Not only because it avoids the use of animal derivatives, but because it is made from apple waste (from the cores to the skin fibres recovered from the production process of organic apples from the Italian Alps region of Trentino).
It was created by Frumat Leather, an Italian company from Trento which won the “Technology and Innovation” award for Apple Skin at the Green Carpet Fashion event in 2018.
In order to turn special waste from industrial residue into a new raw material, Frumat only adopts mechanical techniques, with considerable savings on energy. And, what is more, it does not only use part of the residue, but the waste in its entirety, fully closing the apple cycle without releasing more waste into the environment. A 100%-Italian ethical project which helps to lower CO2 emissions and plays a starring role in our vegan line!
OUTSOLE IN LACTAE HEVEA®
We are really proud of our soles in Lactae Hevea®: this natural and completely recyclable sole is in a league of its own. This product is the end result of a refining process of virgin Hevea milk which undergoes as many as fifty different steps carried out by hand. The virgin milk is extracted from a tree using an ancient system which neither cuts nor weakens the plant.
Thanks to this artisanal expertise, the bottom of this natural-rubber outsole has a honeycomb micro-structure which is unique in the world and guarantees insulation, softness and the utmost pliancy. These qualities make our Natural sneakers a perfect choice in terms of comfort and sustainability!
THE LACES: MADE WITH ORGANIC AND RECYCLED COTTON
Are you really sure you know the difference between organic cotton and regular cotton? This is why we have chosen organic cotton over the standard type:
· It comes from a plant that has not been genetically modified and is cultivated for at least three years without the use of fertilisers and chemical pesticides.
· The land is not exploited and then abandoned. It is part of a rotation scheme which keeps the soil in good condition and preserves its precious resources.
· It uses 91% less water than standard cotton and helps to boost biodiversity.
· The organic farming system protects workers’ rights across the entire textile chain.
In a nutshell, organic cotton has a series of qualities that make it healthier for the wearer, safer for the environment and better for the workers involved in the supply chain.
The kind of cotton we use for our sneakers has an extremely small environmental footprint and has been grown without the use of pesticides or chemical substances.
FABRIC PARTS IN A RECYCLED PET MATERIAL
What yesterday was a plastic bottle… Today becomes a sneaker!
All the fabric parts making up our REBORN sneaker, from the laces to the labels, were once waste of some kind. Old recycled plastic bottles collected in Northern Italy are particularly useful and undergo a special recycling process that breathes new life into them, reducing production waste and preventing them from ending up in the ocean or in a landfill.
PACKAGING IN RECYCLED CARDBOARD
Our shoe boxes are made from entirely recycled cardboard as well and have been lined with Favini Crush paper, a special range of recycled paper containing up to 15% of by-products from corn processing in place of cellulose. We chose Crush because:
· it is FSC-certified, ensuring that the raw materials come from forests managed in keeping with stringent environmental, social and economic standards;
· it has been made with EKOenergy, meaning renewable energy that is 100% green;
· it contains no GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
Now, you might be wondering why we do all of this. Because we think that changing the world is possible by challenging the rules of the fashion industry. We are all part of the change and it is our responsibility to leave the Earth to future generations better than we found it.