More and more brands are becoming eco-conscious and moving away from polluting practices, but some are more innovative than others. Allbirds has made shoes from sugar-cane, and they have cinched Leonardo DiCaprio as an investor in their start-up idea. There's all sorts of layers to this.
Allbirds is a San Francisco-based startup that is focused on designing environmentally friendly shoes. They created an entirely new shoe movement that is inspired by natural materials rather than synthetics, and their first pair of kicks that put them on the map were sneakers made from merino wool. They even reimagined shoe packaging, where they only use 90 percent recycled cardboard boxes that act as both your shoebox and mailer all in one, cutting out the waste.
Always looking to expand their eco-friendly focus, the brand has now set their sights on how to get rid of plastic from the footwear industry. Enter their flip flops made from sugar canes. But don't worry, these won't dissolve in the rain; it's a lot more technical than that.
The issue that Allbirds was trying to tackle is the fact that most shoe soles are made from a plastic foam called EVA, which is typically made from petroleum and is highly polluting. Allbirds solution to that was to create SweetFoam, which is a sole material made from the first ever "green-EVA," which is created from sugarcane.
“EVA is one of the most widely used components in footwear, and this is the first time since its inception that it has been made from a renewable resource. After years of research, we are proud to introduce this into our products, and to the industry in a broad and meaningful way," Joey Zwillinger, the co-founder of Allbirds, shared in a release.
They will be debuting this new technology in their brand's fourth shoe, the flip-flops named "Sugar Zeffers." The Sugar Zeffers will retail for $35, and you can even mix and match interchangeable straps, which clock in at $15 each. While right now SweetFoam will only debut in the sandals, the company has plans to extend that technology to all of their shoes.
So where does Leonardo DiCaprio enter into all of this? The Academy Award-winning actor has a long history of being an environmental activist, so it's not so random that he signed up as an investor. Seeing how this will be the first eco-friendly alternative for sole shoes, it caught DiCaprio's interest, who has produced eco-conscious documentaries like“Before the Flood” and “Cowspiracy."
When discussing his role as a new investor, DiCaprio said in a statement, "Creating sustainable consumer products requires a deep commitment from brands that understand the role they have in helping solve our environmental crisis.”
Allbirds is one of those companies that are very aware of the role they play, where even the production of the soles is environmentally responsible. For example, the sugarcane is grown in Brazil using minimal fertilizer, and then is processed in factories that are completely run on renewable power.
Not only that, but Allbirds doesn't plan to keep this new technology a secret.. They want to share it with the footwear industry at large, hoping to create systematic change.
If you want stylish flip flops this summer that don't hurt the environment, then this is a prime choice.