An estimated 330 million pairs of shoes are sold each year in the UK. But with most of these ending up in landfills and decomposition taking around 50 years, public concern regarding plastic pollution and sustainability is at an all-time high. Which is why new label WAES Footwear is launching the world’s first collection of zero-waste, plastic-free trainers.
WAES Footwear is completely biodegradable and sustainably-designed, with fully-transparent supply chains and pricing. Manufactured in Portugal, the WAES Footwear team produce the shoe soles using sustainably-sourced sap from rubber trees grown in FSC-certified plantations in South East Asia.
The shoe uppers are made from organic cotton and organic-tanned leather from Italy, which is metal-free with no toxic coatings or fixatives. The stitching on WAES Footwear comes in the form of hemp, flax and cotton, while the resin is vegan conifer glue. Even the packaging is FSC-certified and reusable.
Design-wise, WAES Footwear’s collection is underpinned by the brand’s classic and stylish 1970s aesthetic. There are two models in the collection: the vegan Hope, made from organic cotton, and the organic leather Chameleon. Both shoes are durable, flexible and comfortable, and will have you looking the part whether you’re in the office or on the High Street.
Co-founder Ed Temperley believes that recycling won’t solve the plastic pollution problem, instead products need to be plastic-free and zero-waste from the start. He says: “Microplastics have penetrated every corner of our environment. We are ingesting them every day, and shoe sole abrasion is a major cause of virgin microplastics.”
The first WAES Footwear collection has launched on Kickstarter and prices start from £84. Find out more over at the Kickstarter Website.
It’s not just the start-ups which are offering sustainable style either. Cornish label Finisterre have just unveiled their latest collaboration with Vans, and its Vans’ most sustainable footwear range ever.