A shoe made with algae polyurethane
Called Blueview, this shoe is completely biobased and biodegradable, with a sole made of biobased polyurethane, made from algae.
Blueview is a spinoff company of the University of California, where they invented a high-performance biodegradable polyurethane foam, known as Soleic Foam, that is used for the soles of the shoes. The foam is based on algae.
When the material was developed, the researchers set out to make 100% biodegradable sneakers. Therefore, they developed a 3D-knit sneaker upper material made from plant fibres. While they don’t specify what plants, at least the strap is made of organic cotton canvas, which ensures the shoe can be worn both as a loafer and a slip-on.
Every single component of the shoe is plant based and biodegradable under aerobic compositing conditions, which means they will completely break down when exposed to air, moisture, and microorganisms in compost. The soles biodegrade quicker than common rubber soles, which stick around for centuries underground.
Though Blueview’s claim to be the world’s first biodegradable shoe is doubtful, it’s still an impressive feat to create a modern looking sneaker that way. The shoes are currently only available in the US.
The group has also developed algae-based flip-flops using Soleic Foam, which you can read more about here, which are licensed to Reef through their company Algenesis.