Sole Launches Eco-Friendly Footwear Made From Recycled Wine Corks, Trash And Natural Materials

Canadian footwear and footbed manufacturer SOLE™ is rolling into stores and online this winter setting higher standards for authentically eco-friendly footwear that’s sure to please everyday adventurers, eco-conscious consumers and mother nature. 

SOLE is known and loved for the signature dynamic support of their orthopedic insoles and footwear, offering pain relief and fighting fatigue in millions of satisfied customers. Improving people’s lives has always been the top priority for the company, alongside protecting the planet we call home.

The brand is beginning a new chapter in their sustainable, supportive footwear story with the launch of their most ambitious collection to date. SOLE’s winter 2019 collection includes fresh footwear styles that prioritize sustainability without compromising on comfort, function or durability. While maintaining the supportive comfort central to the brand, SOLE’s designers have considered each aspect of every shoe to maximize sustainability and blaze a trail for an industry that doesn’t do enough to minimize its environmental impact.

SOLE CEO Mike Baker had the following to say: “The time for planning low-level incremental improvements is over. It’s simply not enough. People need drastically re-thought, innovative approaches to producing materials and products that satisfy consumer demand without costing the planet. Our winter 2019 line takes a huge step toward doing exactly that.”

At the heart of the line is a proprietary new midsole made from recycled wine corks, collected by SOLE’s cork recycling initiative ReCORK. As North America’s largest cork recycling network, ReCORK has collected and repurposed over 100 million natural wine corks. Working with this resource, SOLE’s scientists spent hundreds of hours developing the right formula to give recycled cork the flexibility, durability and cushioning needed for industry-leading underfoot comfort. The result is an entirely sustainable, comfortable and beautiful component that stands out from the crowd.

Building on the base of their unique midsole, SOLE’s commitment to sustainability, comfort and quality is evident in their selection of the highest-quality, environmentally-conscious materials. 

Many styles include a patented Australian merino-knit upper that is breathable, moisture wicking, soft and durable. Made from ethically-sourced, natural and sustainable fibers, it’s as comfortable worn with or without socks, and will keep its ever-fresh feel throughout its long lifespan. 

The insoles boast SOLE’s signature orthopedic shape and use algae-based Bloom Foam to partially replace petroleum-based materials. This reduces the environmental impact of the footbed while its manufacturing process returns filtered water to natural waterways. The footbed is treated with Polygiene® Stays Fresh 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 natural rubber and rice rubber outsoles are made to endure any adventure, while being gentle on the planet. Natural rubber requires far less energy and petrochemical input to produce than synthetic rubbers, while rubber tree plantations suck carbon from the atmosphere. Rice rubber adds rice husks to the mix, making the most of an abundant natural material that would otherwise become waste in landfills, and adding durability to increase the outsole’s lifespan. 

To produce a game-changing headliner to their new line SOLE has teamed up with responsible apparel company United By Blue to create a shoe designed using sustainable materials in every aspect without compromising on quality, comfort or durability. The SOLE x UBB Jasper Wool Eco Chukka is designed to be the world’s most eco-friendly shoe, built around SOLE’s new ReCORK recycled cork midsoleand United By Blue’s BisonShield™ insulationBisonShield insulation is hypoallergenic and temperature-regulating just like the ethically-sourced merino wool that surrounds it. The chukka also includes SOLE’s signature-shaped BloomTMAlgae Foam footbeds with natural cork topsheets, Polygiene Stays Fresh Technology and natural rice rubber outsoles to give durability with a minimized footprint.

The idea behind the collaboration first sparked at the Outdoor Retailer Innovation Awards  in November 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 a winner.

The new Chukka debuted exclusively on Kickstarter on March 4, 2019 and was fully funded in 84 minutes showing that consumers are hungry for more responsible, sustainable products. 

While footwear is an exciting new venture for the company, SOLE hasn’t lost touch with its core customers’ need for their best-established and award-winning product line, their signature shaped aftermarket heat/wear moldable customizable footbeds. For winter 2019 the brand will expand on its footbed inventory with four new lines designed to meet specific foot health requirements. The new footbeds come in the recycled cork construction of the Performance collection and the super-durable and fan-favorite EVA construction of the Active line. 

The Performance Wide and Active Wide footbeds provide all the regular support of SOLE’s signature custom-moldable footbeds, now with a wider toe-box to fit natural-splay shoes for increased comfort and balance. 

The Performance with Met Pad and Active with Met Pad footbeds include a metatarsal pad to support the foot’s bones in their natural resting position. The addition of the metatarsal pad helps increase comfort and circulation in the forefoot. 

$1 from every pair of Performance footbeds sold goes toward planet-protecting initiatives and charity organizations.

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