Canadian footwear manufacturer SOLE has teamed up with responsible apparel company United By Blue to launch a Kickstarter campaign producing a shoe designed using sustainable materials in every aspect, from tongue to tread, without compromising on quality, comfort or durability. In a time when the earth is under unsustainable pressure from human consumption, SOLE and UBB have collaborated to give customers a choice in footwear that looks good, feels great, lasts long and doesn’t come at the cost of the planet.
The new shoes will debut exclusively on Kickstarter March 4, 2019 with a campaign that speaks to consumers about the state of the footwear industry, while presenting them with a better option. Consumers who are hungry for more responsible, sustainable products have the chance to put their money behind something that really makes an impact in an industry. By giving their support, funders will get the shoes at a price that recognizes and rewards their investment in our planet, and a better option for footwear. These earth-friendly Chukkas will go to early bird Kickstarter backers for as little as $95 a piece, and will retail for $150.
The SOLE x UBB Jasper Wool Eco Chukka is built around SOLE’s new ReCORK™ recycled cork midsole and UBB’s award-winning BisonShield™ insulation. Both components are natural, sustainable, and perform better than the synthetic alternatives which dominate the market. The ReCORK midsole is made from recycled wine corks, ground down and recombined in SOLE’s proprietary new formula that gives flex, cushioning and durability superior to the industry-standard EVA foam midsole. UBB’s BisonShield™ insulation utilizes bison hair that would otherwise be destined for landfills to create a sustainable insulation that regulates temperature to keep you cozy when it’s cold, and cool when it’s warm. The natural hollow-fibre insulator is lightweight, flexible and retains heat even when wet.
BisonShield™ insulation is hypoallergenic and temperature-regulating just like the ethically-sourced merino wool that surrounds it. SOLE selected Australian merino in a plaited knit to guarantee durability to match its comfort. The chukka also includes SOLE's signature-shaped BloomTM Algae Foam footbeds with natural cork topsheets. Bloom foam requires 35% less energy to produce than regular EVA and has 40% less impact on ecosystems and climate. Natural rice rubber outsoles give durability with a minimized footprint while removing rice husks, a byproduct of the rice industry, from the waste stream.
The sustainable design approach to the SOLE x UBB Jasper Wool Eco Chukka doesn’t stop with the primary materials used either. The footbed is treated with Polygiene® anti-odor 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 chukka is also designed for versatility to match its longevity. With timeless simple style, cozy comfort and multi-environment traction in the sole, it’s the everyday adventurer’s best friend. It’s equally at home around the campfire, on forest trails, in the pub or on city streets. It’s also equally comfortable worn with or without socks thanks to its breathable, temperature regulating, moisture wicking upper, and the natural cork topsheet on the insole, which is also naturally moisture-wicking and antimicrobial.
SOLE Founder and CEO Mike Baker had the following to say:
“This is a shoe that people can feel really good about buying, and will love wearing. This is also just the beginning for us. We’re immensely proud of what we’ve produced but we believe we can always improve, and will keep working toward the goal of a more sustainable future for the footwear industry.”
The idea behind the collaboration first sparked at the Outdoor Retailer Innovation Awards 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 an overall winner.
Brian Linton, United By Blue Founder and CEO:
“Working with SOLE to incorporate BisonShield™ insulation into a footwear collection for the first time is reflective of our belief that sustainability is not a status quo. It also shows how working together with industry-leading peers, we are able to push the boundaries of sustainability further, more quickly.”
SOLE is a Canadian footwear brand, founded in Vancouver in 2001. Our mission is to help people live active, pain-free lives while having the least possible impact on the planet. Our award-winning footbeds are the consumer’s choice for supportive insoles, reducing pain and fatigue in the feet of millions. Building on the success of our footbeds, we launched into footwear that is great for your feet and gentle on the earth. We strongly believe that we have a responsibility to consider the impact our actions have on the environment, which is why we’re blazing a trail for sustainability in footwear. From product design and development, to material sourcing and creation, we are committed to providing quality and comfort that doesn't come at the cost of the planet. In 2008, we launched our cork recycling initiative ReCORK, which takes natural wine corks and turns them into a carbon-negative raw material that replaces petroleum-based foams and plastics in consumer products. We’ve recycled 100 million corks to date, and we are just getting started. Learn more about what we do and how we do it at yoursole.com.
About United By Blue
United By Blue is a sustainable outdoor apparel and accessories brand started in 2010 driven by the belief that every living creature is united by the blue of our world's oceans and waterways, and we all share the responsibility to protect them. Our pledge unites our beliefs with our business: For every product sold, we remove one pound of trash from the oceans and waterways through company-organized cleanups. All apparel and accessories are responsibly made using sustainable materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, hemp, and bison fiber. United By Blue products can be found in nearly 1000 outlets globally, in our stores in Philadelphia, and online at unitedbyblue.com.