Free shipping and returns for all orders of $69 or more

From pond to pavement: Introducing algae foam in shoes

From pond to pavement: Introducing algae foam in shoes

September 20, 2019

We’re pretty jazzed to introduce our new eco-friendly insoles and outsoles: A bio-based foam that is kind to the planet and cozy for your feet – Algae Foam. The algae foam is made from recycled green algae and is mixed with EVA to create great soles.

Algae bloom: an ecological disaster

You’ve probably seen it before – most likely even more so in recent years. A bright green, slimy layer of funk floating on lakes, rivers, and ponds known as algae bloom. It’s nasty. And not in the good way. Besides destroying coastal views and summer swim missions, an algae bloom is also toxic to marine life and humans, and is now considered to be a global environmental crisis. Like we did with the recycling of plastic bottles, we wanted to use algae in our shoes.

 

 

Algae foam: a new way to use algae bloom

Here’s the good news though. Engineers have figured out that they can harvest algae biomass from freshwater lakes and rivers, and make a lightweight, flexible, durable foam from it – ideal for footwear. Not only does Algae Foam clear harmful algae from polluted waterways, but each pair re-circulates 240 bottles of filtered water back into natural habitats and prevents the equivalent of 13 balloons full of CO2 from being released into the Earth’s atmosphere. That's why we use algae for our recycled shoes.

  

Algae foam for shoes

How did we test algae foam...

Outsoles have been one of the more challenging problems to solve in the quest for designing sustainable shoes. There simply haven’t been any alternative options to those dependent on fossil fuels. So when we first learned of this emerging technology, we were obviously intrigued. But first – it had to pass the performance test. No matter how “green” something is, if it doesn’t feel, perform, or look good, it’s not an option.

We had some protos made up and gave them a real-life test. We wore them day and night. To work. To concerts. To tradeshows (perhaps the truest test – the miles and hours logged on your feet at a tradeshow is no joke). On road trips. Chasing the kids. Walking the dog. Riding bikes. Cobble stone streets. Dirt roads. Wooden docks. You name it, we walked it.

 

...and discovered it works!

They passed the test with flying colors - even we were surprised at how well they held up! We added rubber panels at the contact points for added durability, and can now proudly offer you an alternative outsole/insole option that is more sustainable and more comfortable. 

Algae…who woulda thunk it.

     




Also in News

Catching up With Angelou & Greening Youth Foundation
Catching up With Angelou & Greening Youth Foundation

July 14, 2020

Greening Youth Foundation is an international environmental nonprofit organization that I founded 15 years ago. The impetus for GYF was seeing that there was no organization focused on connecting people of color to careers in the conservation field.

Read More

How to Clean Your SAOLA Shoes
How to Clean Your SAOLA Shoes

July 08, 2020

Look at those fancy new kicks you have! Who knew eco-friendly could look so good. So, how do you make them last?

Read More

Slow Fashion vs. Fast Fashion
Slow Fashion vs. Fast Fashion

June 03, 2020

"Slow fashion" and "fast fashion" - two terms you've likely seen around social media and the news lately. But what do these terms mean? And how do they relate to the environment and ethical consumption?

Read More

Dial In That Perfect Fit!

Find your perfect fit with these casual, sustainable sneakers.