In a world where environmental consciousness is at the forefront of innovation, the footwear industry is taking giant strides towards sustainability. Traditional materials and techniques are making way for eco-friendly alternatives that’ll redefine fashion and contribute to a greener planet.
Our blockbuster exhibition currently at home in Gallery 1, Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street, dives into sustainability and circular design. Let’s explore the future of sustainable sneakers and the fascinating ways brands are creating shoes for the future.
One such revolutionary step is exemplified by Native Shoes and their groundbreaking creation - The Plant Shoe. Crafted entirely from plant-based materials, this footwear marvel boasts an upper made from a blend of pineapple leaf fibres and cotton, a sock liner spun from linen, a footbed featuring kenaf fibres for durability, and a natural latex outsole extracted from hevea trees. The meticulous two-week, 50-step process required for each pair ensures not just style, but a sustainable choice that can be returned to the earth through backyard composting.
Threads woven by a robot
adidas introduced the FUTURECRAFT.STRUNG, a robot inspired by string weaving. This cutting-edge technology intricately weaves threads, heating and fusing them into a single, lightweight piece. The result is a shoe that not only offers a custom fit but also minimises excess material and wastage.
The Plant Shoe from Native Shoes
Dissected shoe pieces by Helen Kirkum Studio
Peterson Stoop's SYNERGY MULE - Colour Pop
Taking the concept of recycling to a whole new level, brands like Helen Kirkum Studio and Peterson Stoop are breathing new life into discarded footwear. By methodically dissecting vintage shoes, deadstock, or those destined for landfills, these creators fashion unique, authentic shoes that tell a story of rebirth and transformation.
adidas have taken another sustainable step with the Stan Smith Mylo. This concept shoe is the first-ever to be made from mycelium-based Mylo materials. Derived from mushrooms, Mylo material is not only versatile but also environmentally friendly. The mycelium, a complex web threading through the soil, serves as the foundation for a material that can be coloured and finished in various ways, opening up possibilities for sustainable fashion in an array of styles.
As we step into a future where sustainability and style go hand in hand, these sneakers made from unexpected sources challenge the norms, proving that fashion can indeed leave a lasting imprint on the world - not just in terms of style, but in its commitment to a greener, more conscious planet.