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May 21, 2019

Vivobarefoot launches plant-based vegan shoe

By Beth Wright

London-based shoe company Vivobarefoot has officially launched what it claims is its most innovative sustainable shoe to-date and the world’s first plant-based performance shoes.

The Primus Lite II Bio vegan shoe is designed with more than 30% renewable plant-based materials, including Bio TPU made from yellow dent field corn, natural rubber and harvested algae called Bloom, instead of single-use petroleum materials. 

The design is Vivobarefoot’s lightest and most efficient performance shoe yet and weighs on average an estimated 10% less than today’s standard performance shoes, the firm says.

Founded in 2012 by Galahad Clark, a seventh generation descendant of the Clark Shoes company, and his cousin Asher Clark, every Vivobarefoot shoe features a patented, ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole that protects the foot and allows maximum sensory feedback.

The company’s long-term aim is to make the most sustainable shoes on the planet and it has already pioneered shoes made of repurposed algae (Ultra Bloom), and another Eco range made of 50% recycled plastic – with 17 recycled bottles per pair. 

The new generation of Vivobarefoot’s legacy Primus Lite style represents a major stride for the company towards its goal of using 100% bio-based materials in a future iteration of this product.

“The launch of the Primus Lite Bio represents an exciting step away from the industry’s reliance on single-use petroleum-based materials and towards a promising future of plant-based alternatives,” said Asher Clark, design director at Vivobarefoot. “We want to challenge the world’s relationship with shoes, the materials they are made from and the impact they are having on us and our environment. Our ultimate goal is complete circularity.”

The plant-based materials in the Primus Lite II Bio shoe are sourced and managed responsibly, reducing water, energy and CO2 emissions, improving wastewater and ultimately reducing their ecological footprint.

The release of Primus Lite II Bio follows Vivobarefoot’s commissioned consumer research study, which was conducted by an independent research company in April 2019. The study confirmed that most consumers today have different definitions of sustainability but a key focus for them was the use of eco-friendly materials in the products they buy. This is reassuring data for Vivobarefoot, which is on a mission to phase out petrochemicals and use 100% sustainable materials in the next two years.

Clark added: “The less you put between your feet and the environment, the better. Just like our other styles, Primus Lite II Bio was designed to let people’s feet do their natural thing while providing maximum sensory feedback from your body to your brain.

“The Primus Lite II Bio is not perfect, it still contains significant non-plant-based products, but it’s a step in the right direction. There are many challenges the footwear industry faces in creating sustainable products, and Vivobarefoot believes it is better to innovate for good, rather than to stand still.”

The Primus Lite II Bio is available in a limited run online now, priced at US$160.Additional styles and colours of the Bio line will be released in the autumn. 

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