MaterialDistrict Utrecht - 8, 9 & 10 March 2023 - Get your ticket now

MaterialDistrict

A 3D knitted sneaker made of dog hair and mycelium

German designer Emilie Burfeind developed a 3D knitted sock sneaker made of waste dog hair, bioplastic and mycelium.

The sustainability of shoes is often questioned lately. The materials and their variety (like rubber, plastics and textile), but also the difficulty of disassembly make recycling difficult. Therefore, many shoes and sneakers end up on the landfill or are incinerated.

To combat this problem, Burfeind focused on the use of natural, renewable materials that biodegrade at end-of-life, with added properties like customisation and on-demand production.

Called Sneature, a portmanteau word from “sneaker” and “nature”, the shoe Burfeind developed is a 3D knitted sock sneaker. The yarn is made of waste dog hair and is called Chiengora. According to Burfeind, “the functional properties of flexibility, stiffness and air circulation in a ‘second skin'”. The natural properties of the material also provide water absorption and release and anti-static properties. The membrane is manufactured in a knitting lab.

The transition of upper to sole consists of a thin layer of flexible bioplastic. The junction area is water-repellent and protects the membrane in areas that quickly wear out.

Finally, the sole is made of mushroom mycelium cultivated in a mould. The mycelium is grown on local vegetable waste. Both the mycelium and the bioplastic can be made at home or in a maker’s lab.

The design is nominated for Green Concept Award 2021.

Images: Emilie Burfeind

Comments

  1. Sue Choi says:

    What a great innovation!
    We’ve been waiting for some progressive design in shoes…
    Are the shoes available to consumers?

  2. Alessandra Perricone says:

    amazing

  3. Sigrid says:

    Hi Sue,

    The shoes aren’t commercially available yet, but if you’re interested, you can contact the designer via the link in the article.

    On behalf of Team MaterialDistrict,
    Sigrid