Innovation That Matters

Sustainable flip flops

Sustainable shoe soles are made from plant-based material


Shoe company creates soles made from a sustainable plant-based material and encourages other companies to do the same.

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One of the raw materials in shoe soles is EVA, a foam made from petroleum. EVA is non-renewable and polluting which means shoe soles are typically harmful to the environment. Now, shoe company Allbirds have launched its Sugar Zeffer flip flops which have soles made from a new sustainable material.

The new technology SweetFoam uses sugarcane, a material that comes from a plant and is renewable. SweetFoam was created in collaboration with Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem. Its carbon negative technology is an environmentally-friendly alternative to EVA foam and Allbirds plans to use it across all products. As well as creating a sustainable shoe sole, the company is making sure to source the sugarcane ethically. All the sugars used in manufacturing SweetFoam has to be certified by Proforest – a non-profit company that verifies natural resources are being sourced sustainably.

Retailing at 35 USD, the Sugar Zeffer flip flops are available in four colours. They also have interchangeable straps which customers can purchase separately. While the flip flops are on sale for a limited time only, the Allbirds SweetFoam technology is freely available to other shoe manufacturers and companies. They hope that by doing so, other companies will follow suit and help reduce the carbon footprint of shoes. In addition by offering green values at an affordable price, consumers can choose to support eco-friendly products without an extra cost.



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