Fashion brands are riding the sustainability wave, experimenting with new eco-friendly materials and processes, and now PUMA is jumping on the trend with its RE:SUEDE sneaker, a sustainable version of the iconic SUEDE sneaker.
The RE:SUEDE is made from – you guessed it – suede, but it’s a new material called Zeology, a suede that undergoes a special tanning process that not only makes the shoe more comfortable to wear, but more eco-friendly, too. The RE:SUEDE also incorporates biodegradable thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and hemp fibres.
The new sneaker is part of a pilot scheme to eventually make the shoe biodegradable and create circularity in the shoe space. As the first product from PUMA’s sustainable “Circular Lab” innovation hub, the RE:SUEDE has a long journey ahead: in January 2022, it will be given to 500 people in Germany, who will wear it for six months to test the durability of the materials. Then, each shoe will be sent back to PUMA, and then shipped to a company in the Netherlands that will compost the shoes and determine if the compost they create is suitable for agricultural use. This will help PUMA figure out what materials and processes will work best in creating a biodegradable shoe.
The initiative was launched by PUMA Creative Director Heiko Desens, who said: “In 2012, our circular ambition was bold but the technology wasn’t quite there. As they say, with every challenge there’s an opportunity – and we’ve continued to push ourselves to do better by applying our strengths as well as acknowledging and improving on our weaknesses. We hope that progress made during the RE:SUEDE experiment: ‘No Time For Waste‘ will help us continue to raise the bar in circularity testing – enabling our consumers to make better fashion choices in the future, so their sneakers can go ‘from Suede to Soil’, without compromising on product style or durability during ownership.”
We know that the fashion industry is extremely wasteful and bad for the environment – making up 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions each year! – so we’re all about fashion brands becoming more eco-conscious. We may have to wait a while for the RE:SUEDEs to become widely available, but we’re excited to see what comes from their research.
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