London-based shoe company Vivobarefoot is to launch a new programme that reconditions its worn or returned shoes in a bid to eliminate the brand’s shoes-to-landfill ratio.
The firm, which is urging the industry to stop making shoes without end of life solutions, will work alongside The Boot Repair Company as part of its ReVivo programme to give its footwear a new lease of life.
Currently, only shoes which have been returned to the brand will go through this process. However, Vivobarefoot’s goal is to be able to accept shoes directly from customers, before repairing and returning them.
Returned shoes will undergo a full fault inspection before being given one of three grades:
- Grade 1 – Vivobarefoot’s finest reconditioned footwear, described as being ‘like new’
- Grade 2 – In great condition, but has been repaired
- Grade 3 – In good condition, but has had repairs and a replacement sole
The shoes are then given a deep steam clean and are sanitised inside and out using Micro-Fresh technology to kill all known viruses and bacteria before the repair process begins.
Procedures include the re-stitching and over-locking of burst steams, the patching of torn or weak areas, re-bonding of un-stuck seals and soles, and the replacement of broken eyelets and lace hooks.
Damaged laces and insoles are also replaced with new products, with the old insoles then recycled and used to repair other shoes, while thin or damaged soles are replaced with the old sole units being recycled and used as equestrian area bases. Packaging is also replaced.
Once repaired, the shoes will be clearly marked and available to buy from the ReVivo website, which is due to launch shortly.
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.
“No doubt, the elephant in the sustainable shoe room is end-of-life and the fact that nearly all shoes end up in landfill or, at best, get ground down into flooring material,” Clark said. “The shoe industry makes shoes out of complicated different materials bonded together with a lot of petro-chemicals that will ultimately sit in landfill for a lot longer than the lives of the wearers.”
The London-based shoe brand is also working on chemical recycling solutions as well as other circular economy models such as 3D printed shoes.