Vivobarefoot develops Bio-TPU-based shoes

The footwear company Vivobarefoot has announced plans to bring a plant-based shoe range to the market. According to the company, the new Primus Bio range will use a plant-based thermoplastic polyurethane – a product based on industrial field corn – in its sole and upper and will be one of the lightest and most environmentally-sound shoe ranges available to-date. Vivobarefoot said the Primus Bio is its latest step in the quest to use 90 % sustainable materials across its entire product range by 2020.

60 % of the outsole and 30 % of the upper of the Primus Bio will be made from Susterra propanediol-based Bio-TPU, making it one of the least petroleum-reliant performance shoes in the world, the company said. Susterra propanediol from DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products Company, LLC is created through a fermentation process using plant-derived glucose from the starch found in field corn and is petroleum-free, non-toxic and 100 % USDA certified. The material gives shoes greater flexibility in the cold and is very resilient to abrasions and general wear. Susterra propanediol is said to use 52 % less energy than the standard petroleum-based materials used by the global footwear industry and 32 % less greenhouse gas emissions. The Primus Bio will be available to purchase in 2019.

60 % of the outsole and 30 % of the upper of the Primus Bio is made from Susterra propanediol-based Bio-TPU (Source: Vivobarefoot)

“Sustainability is our journey and we believe that the perfect shoe has minimal interference with natural movement and minimal impact on the environment,” said Asher Clark, Design Director at Vivobarefoot. “The Primus Bio champions the future of sustainable materials which I believe will be largely bio-based. This is an exciting step in the right direction away from the single use petroleum-based alternatives commonly used in athletic footwear and every action counts in our journey of redefining the world’s relationship with environmentally-damaging materials,” he added.

Vivobarefoot has already pioneered shoes made of repurposed algae (Ultra 3 Bloom), and an Eco range made of 50 % recycled plastic, with 17 recycled bottles per pair. In 2017, the company diverted over 2 million plastic bottles from landfills into barefoot shoes.