The demand for sustainable materials certainly did not stop at the shoe industry. With a global production of more than 23 billion pairs of shoes per annum, shoes represent an enormous burden after their useful life since shoes are not recycled. In the search for sustainable and innovative materials, an increasing number of reputable brand and shoe manufacturers are becoming aware of TENCEL branded lyocell fibers.
At Lineapelle, in Milano, one of the most important international trade fair for components and materials for the footwear industry, Lenzing presented the “complete shoe concept”: shoes can be made almost entirely of TENCEL Lyocell fibers. The possibilities range from textile fiber in the upper material, as a filling material or a nonwovens fleece in the inner sole through to LENZING Lyocell powder in the outer sole or in the padding. Likewise shoe laces and the supporting material for zippers are possible. The more shoe components are made of TENCEL Lyocell fibers, the closer things get to the vision of a bio-degradable shoe, said the company.
Due to their eco-friendly production and bio-degradability, two criteria which are increasingly significant in the shoe sector, TENCEL Lyocell fibers are an ideal alternative to conventional materials, said the company. TENCEL Lyocell fibers are produced from wood pulp. This is made of sustainable wood farmed in accordance with the strictest guidelines for wood and pulp procurement applicable for the Lenzing group. The closed loop process for Lyocell fibers guarantees minimum environmental impact thanks to low water and energy consumption and the sparing use of raw materials. This production cycle was awarded the “European Award for the Environment” by the European Union.
“The eco awareness of consumers is rising in general,” says Birgit Schnetzlinger, who is responsible for the footwear segment in Lenzing. “They are becoming increasingly critical and are better informed about sustainability and pay more attention to what they purchase and where the product is coming from. This situation is an opportunity for TENCEL Lyocell fibers because we have the material solution for the footwear industry.
TENCEL Lyocell fibers also naturally have good breathing properties and ensure optimum moisture management in footwear. Moreover, they can be easily combined with all of the materials commonly used in shoe production, said Schnetzlinger.