The Primus Lite II Bio is one of the world’s first plant-based performance shoes

The Primus Lite II Bio is one of the world’s first plant-based performance shoes

London-based shoe company Vivobarefoot has announced plans to focus on three distinctive material groups – bio, recycled and natural – across its entire product range amid the news it will partner with The Woolmark Company to reimagine two of its performance shoes made using gold-rated leather, Tencel and Merino wool.

The announcement, which follows the official launch of what Vivobarefoot calls its most innovative sustainable shoe to-date, will see the company focus its collections on three distinctive material groups across the entire range:

  • Bio: Made from plant-based polymers
  • Recycled: Made from recycled materials 
  • Natural: Made from natural materials

The decision, Vivobarefoot says, will help create transparency and simplification in order to drive the company's goal of using 90% sustainable materials by 2020, and 100% by 2021.

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. 

As part of Vivobarefoot's efforts to create footwear out of natural materials, the firm has recently teamed up with The Woolmark Company to reimagine two of its barefoot performance shoes made using gold-rated leather, Tencel and Merino wool due to its "incredible natural performance" and sustainability credentials.

Merino wool is a 100% renewable fibre grown year-round by Australia's 71m sheep, that consume a simple blend of water, air, sunshine, and grass. The Woolmark brand represents a commitment between woolgrowers, brands, and consumers on the authenticity and quality of the fibre and has a transparent mission of connecting the farm-to-supply chain to bring the benefits of wool performance to consumers worldwide.

Due to launch in the new year, the partnership will play a big part in Vivobarefoot's natural range, including already popular styles such as the Primus Knit and Magna Trail.

"We are far from perfect, but we are committed and excited to take further steps on our long-term sustainability journey towards the goal of creating fully sustainable shoes, that are healthier for you and healthier for the planet. We are always searching for better materials and using the three new material groups as a focus helps us position the right materials in the right place to deliver the performance, durability and ultimately to have as little impact as possible," said Vivobarefoot co-founder and design director Asher Clark.

"The more we learned about the incredible characteristics of wool, we quickly realised we needed to work with the global authority on wool, The Woolmark Company. The combination of the Merino wool, which is an engineered knit against the skin for amazing thermal regulation was teamed up with Tencel, made from eucalyptus tree pulp fibre as the top layer that helps enhance the durability and overall life span of the shoe while keeping things natural."

In addition to the new wool styles in the natural collection, Vivobarefoot is also using bio and recycled materials in shoes where the functional requirements are different. The bio range is a continuation of Vivobarefoot's recently launched Primus Lite II Bio, one of the world's first plant-based performance shoes. The Primus Lite II Bio was created with over 30% plant-based materials, including Bio TPU made from yellow dent field corn, natural rubber and harvested algae, minimising the reliance on single-use petroleum-based materials.

Vivobarefoot's recycled range uses post-consumer PET and features styles such as the Primus Lite, Primus Trail, Magna Trail, and Stealth, which are made with 50% recycled plastic bottles.

Clark added: "In a world where people are paying very close attention to what they put in their bodies, they are now rightly looking more closely at what they are putting on their bodies and the effects that those choices have on their health and the health of the planet. This is really exciting, and we hope to do everything we can to help drive the sustainability agenda with the help of our consumers, collaborators, partners and fellow brands as we continue on our minimal shoemaking journey."

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