What if we told you that you can soon buy a shoe that costs hundreds of dollars and looks like a Croc and a sock had a baby? Not interested? Weird. But what if that shoe could solve some of the world’s biggest sustainability problems? That kind of changes things.The footwear in question is a collaboration between London shoe brand Vivobarefoot and material science company Balena, per The Guardian.
Customers will have their feet 3D-scanned in stores and their shoes will be custom printed over 30 hours. The shoes use BioCir flex, a patented thermoplastic made of 51% biological material and 49% petrochemical. Printing shoes on demand and to a customer’s exact specifications eliminates the need for extra stock or wasted materials.
The shoes are still being prototyped and are not yet available, but a pair will one day set you back ~$254-$330. High costWhile that might seem steep for a questionable fashion choice, the price of ignoring our recycling problems is even higher.
The fashion industry produces ~10% of global carbon emissions and uses massive amounts of water and land. Shoes are one of the biggest offenders: most are made with rubber, plastic, metal, and adhesives that are hard to dispose of and ultimately pile up in landfills.
While these 3D-printed shoes still can’t go straight to the compost bin with your fruits and veggies, they can be returned to an industrial composting plant and broken down into a nontoxic substance. And it might be time to get used to the look — these funky kicks join a growing group of brands attempting to make footwear sustainable by using everything from mushrooms and sugarcane to cacti and bananas.