Canadian footwear manufacturer SOLE has teamed up with responsible apparel company United By Blue to launch a Kickstarter campaign producing a shoe designed using sustainable materials in every aspect, from tongue to tread.
The new shoes will debut exclusively on Kickstarter March 4, 2019 with a campaign that speaks to consumers about the state of the footwear industry, while presenting them with a better option. Consumers who are hungry for more responsible, sustainable products have the chance to put their money behind something that really makes an impact in an industry. By giving their support, funders will get the shoes at a price that recognizes and rewards their investment in our planet, and a better option for footwear. These earth-friendly Chukkas will go to early bird Kickstarter backers for as little as $95 a piece, and will retail for $150.
The SOLE x UBB Jasper Wool Eco Chukka is built around SOLE’s new ReCORK recycled cork midsole and UBB’s award-winning BisonShield insulation. Both components are natural, sustainable, and perform better than the synthetic alternatives which dominate the market. 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 superior to the industry-standard EVA foam midsole. UBB’s BisonShield™ insulation utilizes bison hair that would otherwise be destined for landfills to create a sustainable insulation that regulates temperature to keep you cozy when it’s cold, and cool when it’s warm. The natural hollow-fibre insulator is lightweight, flexible and retains heat even when wet.
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 BloomTM 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 is treated with Polygiene anti-odor technology to ensure the shoe never has to be thrown away because of stink, complementing the long-lasting materials to ensure a lengthy lifespan. The chukka is also designed for versatility to match its longevity. With timeless simple style, cozy comfort and multi-environment traction in the sole, it’s the everyday adventurer’s best friend. It’s equally at home around the campfire, on forest trails, in the pub or on city streets. It’s also equally comfortable worn with or without socks thanks to its breathable, temperature regulating, moisture wicking upper, and the natural cork topsheet on the insole, which is also naturally moisture-wicking and antimicrobial.
“This is a shoe that people can feel really good about buying, and will love wearing. 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,” said SOLE founder and CEO Mike Baker.
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,” said Brian Linton, United By Blue Founder and CEO