Go Green

These Understated Sneakers Are Quietly Revolutionary


June 12, 2019 Style By

Vancouver footwear brand Native just released an understated sneaker that is quietly revolutionary. The Plant Shoe is crafted entirely from plant-based components and is biodegradable at the end of its life cycle. For Native, the shoe represents the future of its minimalist sneaker designs.

The new style — which retails for $200 — has a classic court silhouette and is handmade in Portugal. It features an upper made from organic cotton and pineapple, a lasting board made from eucalyptus pulp, a cork midsole and a pure hevea latex outsole. Even interior components are made from plants: the insole is felted from a mix of kenaf and corn felt, and features a cotton-linen covering.

The shoe is made with fully-stitched construction, so instead of using synthetic thread supplemented with a petrochemical glue (standard-practice in the industry), the brand found an eco-friendly alternative. “We were looking at completely water-based latex adhesives and we were breaking through cotton, breaking through hemp and finally we found a braided jute that we could use,” said creative director Mike Belgue. “But, it was so burly that it was breaking the bobbin on the stitch machine. So, the factory soaked it in the olive oil and made a little hopper on the fly so it could stretch and soak in olive oil, and then be stitched through.”

Like Native’s other models, this style is certified animal free. But because of its green design, it is aerobically compostable after you’ve worn it out. Other shoes that feature nylon components, foams and synthetic rubbers will be around long after they are discarded (the materials don’t readily break down and are difficult to recycle). The Plant Shoe offers the prospect of zero waste in a silhouette that is immediately wearable, so if it resonates with you, pick up a pair today — it’s produced in limited quantities and is bound to sell quickly.

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