The sneaker market is witnessing a new era in sustainable footwear. This is due to innovative fabrics, circular production, and high-quality craftsmanship.

WAYZ, a Portuguese footwear brand based in Porto, uses only local producers and ethical factories to make its sneakers. Wave At Your Zest For Life is the brand’s name. It makes it transparent as by whom, where, and how its products were made.

Reef, the company most well-known for its sandals that are beach-friendly, has launched a bio shoe. It uses a footbed made of renewable sugarcane and leather ethically sourced from tanneries that have been given a Gold or Silver rating by The Leather Working Group. The sandal will be available on the e-commerce website by August 31st.

Clarks, the makers of the original desert boot, have introduced a vegan version. This includes the Wallabee style. It features vegan-friendly uppers and linings as well as natural rubber crepe soles. This material mimics suede but has a significantly lower environmental impact.

Since the pandemic, consumers have changed their priorities

Since 2021, outdoor styles, sustainably made products, and the demand for ethical sneakers have all increased, particularly in the men’s shoe market.

Kodiak, a Canadian 110-year-old boot company, has become the first to use PrimaLoft PURE insulation. PURE stands for Produced Using Reduced emissions. These shoes are made with 100 percent recycled PET plastic from post-consumer, which reduces carbon emissions by at most 48 percent.

Koio, an Italian company, is aiming to be the first regenerative luxury shoe brand. It sources its leathers from regeneratively managed farms that have been proven to slow or reverse the effects climate change.

Sustainability challenges for footwear

Tanneries often use toxic tanning products that can leach into the water supply. Many tanneries use plastic-based components from virgin, fossil-fuel-based materials to produce linings and soles. Mold-injection results in trimmings that are often discarded. Shoes made cheaply are often low quality, which can lead to shorter product lives.

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