Vivobarefoot’s latest developments continue to offer leather-alternative shoes designed to uphold the company’s tagline: Healthy feet, healthy planet. In 2018, the company says it’s introducing more recycled and traceable fibers into over 50 percent of its vegan line, including eco-mesh linings and uppers.
The shoes feature an ultra-thin sole that the company says “gives you maximum sensory feedback and doesn’t restrict your foot’s natural movement.” Vivobarefoots are foot-shaped “non-shoes.” Its latest products build on the company’s Eco-Canvas and Eco-Suede ranges of non-leather shoes that use 50 percent recycled PET.
The London-based company says that in 2017 people world-wide purchased more than 1 million plastic bottles per minute. Fewer than half of them were recycled and many of them are still in the oceans. Most of these bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which takes more than 400 years to decompose.
PET is highly recyclable, yet fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7 percent of those collected were turned into new bottles, the company states. The Vivobarefoot’s recycled PET range turns approximately 17 throwaway plastic bottles into a pair of shoes designed for durability, as well as minimalist barefoot comfort.
The company’s process includes washing the bottles and freeing them of their labels. Then the bottles are shredded and turned into granules that are melted, extruded and stretched over rollers into long string fibres. The fibres are spun into malleable yarn that can be woven to create functional working material for the shoes.
The company is also working on a shoe made almost entirely from plants.