SOLE, United By Blue Collaborate on Sustainable Footwear

Canadian footwear manufacturer SOLE has teamed up with responsible apparel company United By Blue to produce a shoe designed using sustainable materials in every aspect, from tongue to tread, “without compromising on quality, comfort or durability” said the company.

The SOLE x UBB Jasper Wool Eco Chukka is built around SOLE’s new ReCORK recycled cork midsole and UBB’s BisonShield insulation – both natural and sustainable components.  The ReCORK midsole is made from recycled wine corks, ground down and recombined in SOLE’s proprietary new formula that gives flex, cushioning and durability. UBB’s BisonShield insulation utilizes bison hair that would otherwise be destined for landfills to create a sustainable insulation that regulates temperature, The natural hollow-fibre insulator is lightweight, flexible and retains heat even when wet, said UBB.

BisonShield insulation is hypoallergenic and temperature-regulating just like the ethically-sourced merino wool that surrounds it. SOLE selected Australian merino in a plaited knit to guarantee durability to match its comfort. The chukka also includes SOLE’s signature-shaped BloomT Algae Foam footbeds with natural cork topsheets. Bloom foam requires 35% less energy to produce than regular EVA and has 40% less impact on ecosystems and climate. Natural rice rubber outsoles give durability with a minimized footprint while removing rice husks, a byproduct of the rice industry, from the waste stream.

The sustainable design approach to the SOLE x UBB Jasper Wool Eco Chukka doesn’t stop with the primary materials used either. The footbed the Jasper Wool Eco Chukka is treated with Polygiene anti-odor technology to ensure the shoe never has to be thrown away because of stink.

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“This is a shoe that people can feel really good about buying and will love wearing,” said SOLE founder and CEO Mike Baker.” This is also just the beginning for us. We’re immensely proud of what we’ve produced but we believe we can always improve  and will keep working toward the goal of a more sustainable future for the footwear industry.”

The idea behind the collaboration first sparked at the Outdoor Retailer Innovation Awards 2018, where an early version of SOLE’s Jasper Wool Eco Chukka, and United By Blue’s Bison Puffer Jacket were both recognized as finalists for their sustainable innovation, with the UBB Bison Puffer emerging as an overall winner.

“Working with SOLE to incorporate BisonShield insulation into a footwear collection for the first time is reflective of our belief that sustainability is not a status quo. It also shows how working together with industry-leading peers, we are able to push the boundaries of sustainability further, more quickly,” added Brian Linton, United By Blue founder and CEO.

The new shoes will debut exclusively on Kickstarter. These earth-friendly Chukkas will go to early bird Kickstarter backers for as little as $95 a piece and will retail for $150. ff