By Eli London / March 4, 2019

These Sneakers Are 80% Biodegradable, Comfy as Hell

The only thing more natural is going barefoot

United By Blue x SOLE Jasper Chukka

With sustainability and eco-consciousness more top of mind than ever, consumers are increasingly flocking to brands that share their beliefs and politics, rather than just making a great product. Obviously you have names like Patagonia who have long been advocates of balancing consumerism with conservation, but there are also plenty of younger brands doing it — two of whom (United by Blue and SOLE) just collaborated on a sneaker that puts the environment first without compromising on comfort or style.

For the uninitiated, United By Blue removes a pound of trash from the oceans for every product sold, while SOLE has become a carbon-negative company through its signature ReCork program, which is North America’s largest natural wine cork recycling program, which they use to make the soles for these sneaks.

Together, they’ve created The Jasper Wool Eco Chukka, now available in three colors on Kickstarter for $95 — or $55 off what it will go for when it hits retail shelves. In the time it took to write this article, it has already reached its funding goal, so it behooves you to act fast if you’re interested.

United By Blue x SOLE Jasper Chukka

Buy Now: $95

The Jasper features a litany of sustainable design elements:

  • A Recycled ReCork midsole made from natural wine corks that is just as durable and flexible as synthetic ones
  • BisonShield insulation, which is harvested as a byproduct of the bison meat industry and maintains heat well while wet
  • Insoles made with algae foam, which is just as durable as EVA and removes toxic algae from waterways
  • Natural rice rubber on the sole that provides a durable grip
  • A Merino Wool upper that is water-resistant, moisture-wicking and sourced from sustainable operations
  • And bamboo laces that are more durable than cotton alternatives

If you’re someone who likes Allbirds or similarly minimally structured shoes, these are a great option. They’re essentially like a very rugged slipper with cozy soles and soft, breathable uppers. While I definitely wouldn’t wear them on a long hiking expedition or out in a downpour, they’re serviceable for any non-extreme conditions. And on top of that, they looked better in person than I thought they were going to look from pictures.

While they aren’t 100% biodegradable because of a few binding agents and durability agents (recycled polyester), about 80% of the shoe will eventually go back from whence it came without damaging the environment. All in, it’s a quality chukka sneaker and a good conversation starter if you want to brag about how much you’re doing for the planet but don’t want to drive a Prius. Don’t miss out.

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