Allbirds has made a name in the footwear industry for being both friendly to your feet and the planet. A while ago, the company introduced its bio-degradable Plant Shoe made out of a plant-based alternative to the plastic typically found in regular shoes.
In a similarly environment-friendly manner, the brand has recently developed a plant-based leather alternative to do away with the negative impacts of the production processes associated with the animal-derived counterpart.
The company’s new, aptly named, “plant leather” is made with rubber, vegetable oil, and other natural ingredients, and has a carbon footprint 40 times smaller than animal-derived leather and 17 times fewer carbon emissions than synthetic leathers made from plastics.
The idea behind producing plant leather was to offer a leather alternative that’s as durable and visually attractive as traditional leather — but without the harmful effects that come with manufacturing animal-derived leather goods, including chemical run-offs into the environment and the killing of animals.
To create the new material, Allbirds partnered with Natural Fiber Welding (NFW) to use their Mirum technology, which creates sustainable, plant-based materials by reformatting natural polymers. The end result is leather that features no petroleum, polyurethane, or synthetic binders.
“Our partnership with NFW and planned introduction of Plant Leather based on their technology is an exciting step on our journey to eradicate petroleum from the fashion industry,” said Joey Zwillinger, co-founder of Allbirds.
The new line of shoes is fully biodegradable, and the material is also naturally pigmented. Allbirds plans to use plant leather for new shoes that it will be launching at the end of 2021.
Image source: Allbirds