We’re pretty jazzed to introduce our new eco-friendly insoles and outsoles: A bio-based foam that is kind to the planet and cozy for your feet – Algae Foam.
You’ve probably seen it before – most likely even more so in recent years. A bright green, slimy layer of funk floating on lakes, rivers, and ponds known as algae bloom. It’s nasty. And not in the good way. Besides destroying coastal views and summer swim missions, an algae bloom is also toxic to marine life and humans, and is now considered to be a global environmental crisis.
Here’s the good news though. Engineers have figured out that they can harvest algae biomass from freshwater lakes and rivers, and make a lightweight, flexible, durable foam from it – ideal for footwear. Not only does Algae Foam clear harmful algae from polluted waterways, but each pair re-circulates 240 bottles of filtered water back into natural habitats and prevents the equivalent of 13 balloons full of CO2 from being released into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Outsoles have been one of the more challenging problems to solve in the quest for designing sustainable shoes. There simply haven’t been any alternative options to those dependent on fossil fuels. So when we first learned of this emerging technology, we were obviously intrigued. But first – it had to pass the performance test. No matter how “green” something is, if it doesn’t feel, perform, or look good, it’s not an option.
We had some protos made up and gave them a real-life test. We wore them day and night. To work. To concerts. To tradeshows (perhaps the truest test – the miles and hours logged on your feet at a tradeshow is no joke). On road trips. Chasing the kids. Walking the dog. Riding bikes. Cobble stone streets. Dirt roads. Wooden docks. You name it, we walked it.
They passed the test with flying colors - even we were surprised at how well they held up! We added rubber panels at the contact points for added durability, and can now proudly offer you an alternative outsole/insole option that is more sustainable and more comfortable.
Algae…who woulda thunk it.
Touched by the commitment and support that this non-profit brings to the bonobos living in the Congo, we wanted to provide our support by making a donation throughout the year with every pair of shoes purchased.The money collected goes directly to the variety of local projects implemented by Friends of Bonobos to improve the living conditions of this endangered species.