A few months back we featured the adidas UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley, which uses recycled ocean plastic as material for the sneaker uppers. adidas revolutionised the industry with their leading recycled commitments and updated processes for developing these sneakers and apparel, as featured for the Real Madrid and Bayern Munich football kits. A few weeks ago, Vivobarefoot introduced the world to a revolutionary new sneaker, the Ultra III, the world’s first shoe made from algae biomass.
Galahad Clark, founder of Vivobarefoot in 2004, has spent many years experimenting with 3D-printed shoes along with many other bizarre and unorthodox materials. You can visit their site for a quick browse through some of their other designs and releases. There’s no doubting the company’s eagerness to pursue bold, innovative and cutting-edge designs, often ahead of its time, but not all of them are eye-catching or remotely aesthetically appealing. Clark, however, has a legacy in the footwear industry, his family tree spanning 7 generations in the business, who owns the Clarks brand, making loafers, slides and various slippers.
Vivobarefoot will be launching the ultra-eco, amphibious shoe, the Ultra III, in the next few days. The sneaker is made using algae collected from waterways from around the world and forms part of the company’s campaign for sustainable design. The Vivobarefoot X Bloom collaboration forms part of the partnership with Bloom Foam, an eco-company, based in Mississippi, who have created “the world’s first plant-based, high-performance solution to synthetic and petroleum-based flexible foams.” The partnership will help reduce the current increase of algae from various water sources around the world, with each pair helping to re-circulate 57 gallons of filtered water back into their natural habitats, well at the same time preventing the equivalent of 40 balloons of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.
The excess algae collected from lakes, ponds and the likes are hazardous to marine life and could choke certain animals as a result, while also contaminating drinking water. This may seem an insignificant issue, but given the fact that Florida declared a state of emergency as a result of such contaminants around its coastline, the issue is fairly substantial. The process of converting the algae into the bio-foam used to create the sneakers involves locating areas with high algae bloom, collecting the excess algae, sucking out the moisture, and adding it to various polymers to create the foam-like material. This material performs very similar to EVA polymer, used in the cushion of the modern-day foam sneaker.