What Are Our Vegan Leather Shoes, Bags & Belts Made From?
Microfibre PU (Polyurethane derived)
These fibres are then coated in a bio-resin derived from fermented sugarcane and other plant sources, leaving the material about 95% biodegradable.
The end product is a material that is waterproof, breathable and anti-allergic. (We also recommend applying a cream or polish to the material to help maintain its good condition over time).
Corn leather is made in part from, you guessed it, corn. Well over half of the total material content is plant-based, made up of both corn husks and vegetable oils. The rest of the material is made of synthetic substances, which are blended with the plant-based ingredients.
It takes about 120 days for corn to grow from a seed to the point of harvest (while cows are killed after up to two years of grazing and growing). This far shorter time period makes corn production more efficient and sustainable. Once corn is harvested, it is fermented and chemically transformed so that dextrose – a type of natural sugar – can be extracted from it. This sugar is transformed into a polymer fibre, which is then melted and made into pellets which are able to be blended together with synthetic materials to create a leather-like material.
Corn leather is both supple and sturdy, making it perfect for shoes, and the particular corn leather we use is made transparently in Brazil.
Some brands we work with use AppleSkin, commonly known as 'apple leather', in their shoes. This material is a blend of PU and fruit material, diverted from apple juice industry waste.
Apple cores, seeds and skins are not used to make juice, so they are dried and turned into a powder, which is transformed into up to 50% of this innovative, partially biological material.
This material is one of the most cutting edge options available in the vegan leather space at the moment, produced at a high quality to replicate the texture and feel of animal-derived, less sustainable and more cruel alternatives.
Cork is also a sustainable material, as the cork tree is not harmed in the harvesting of cork, and this bark removal process in fact helps the tree to sequester more carbon!
Organic Cotton Canvas
Cotton canvas is a plant-based, natural and biodegradable material. It is also breathes very well, so makes for a great sneaker or summer shoe.
The Etiko made sneakers we stock are made from certified organic and fair trade cotton canvas, meaning that the cotton is grown sustainably, in an ethical supply chain.
Natural rubber is used to make many of the thongs/flip flops we stock, and often the soles of our vegan shoes. When sourced sustainably – as our brands ensure – this is a great alternative to the use of petroleum-based, plastic rubber.
Plant Derived Linings
An increasing number of our shoes are now being made with bio-polyoils linings, which are derived from plant-based sources like seeds and grains. Using these oils is a far better option than sourcing oil-based materials that fund the fossil fuel industry.