Carbon Control


Momentum to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb environmental impacts is gaining traction as shoe brands re-evaluate processes and materials. Carbon is a key talking point this season with carbon offsets, carbon neutrality and carbon negative labeling all coming into play as footwear brands race to reach corporate sustainability goals. A broader use of eco-friendly materials and responsible sourcing strategies are also key to supplier gameplans. The good news is that today’s earth-friendly fabrics and foams can go toe-to-toe with other footwear textiles in both high-performance and upscale aesthetics. Here, a look at five footwear firms developing products that align with contemporary carbon-centric business platforms.

Kodiak: Stave

Kodiak is the first footwear company to adopt PrimaLoft P.U.R.E. insulation, an eco-responsible product that significantly reduces carbon emissions. P.U.R.E insulation is made with 100 percent post-consumer recycled PET plastic and cuts GHG emissions by 48 percent. PrimaLoft P.U.R.E will feature in four new styles of hiking and lifestyle boots (two men’s, two women’s) in Kodiak’s Fall ’21 lineup. Incorporating PrimaLoft P.U.R.E. is another step in Kodiak’s sustainable journey that prioritizes thoughtful assessment of material choice. The new Stave men’s hiker adds to the P.U.R.E. insulation green story with 100 percent recycled plastic used in the lining, mesh collar and tongue bottom, and 50 percent recycled plastic lace. Advancing use of responsible, renewable materials is a key principle of Kodiak’s Built for What Matters Initiative.

Brooks: Ghost 14

Brooks’ path to net zero is on course with the Ghost 14. Launched this summer, the shoe features recycled polyester to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and Brooks is purchasing high quality carbon offsets. In  2022, the brand will launch a take-back program, laying the groundwork for a fully circular shoe. Climate Action continues in 2023 with 100 percent recycled polyester in materials for new footwear and apparel materials. 2025 goals highlight zero footwear manufacturing waste to landfill, incineration, and the environment.

Twisted X: Zero-X Slip On

By creating footwear that also protects the planet Texas-based Twisted X is now a carbon-neutral company. Zero-X is the first collection developed without the use of chemical adhesives, eliminating harmful toxins and high-energy production processes. The no-glue Zero-X women’s Slip On style utilizes Twisted X’s proprietary stitching construction eliminating 75 percent of the harsh environmental issues. Emission levels were mitigated with a carbon offset conservation project as part of the company’s overall partnership with One Tree Planted. 3,000 tons of carbon offsets were retired through the American Carbon Registry on behalf of Twisted X, supporting a project based in Vermont on a 5,408-acre forest.

Sole: Certified Carbon Negative Insole

The launch of Sole’s CO2 Negative insole is based on an initiative created to promote and facilitate accurate climate impact labeling on consumer products, and to certify carbon-negative products. Created using ReCORK, the performance medium footbed has a carbon impact of -2.28kg CO2e (Carbon Dioxide equivalent), meaning that amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere. This is made possible by the cork’s power of carbon sequestration: For every kilogram of cork harvested, cork oak forest sequesters an average 55kg of CO2 from the atmosphere. Sole has committed to being carbon negative starting in 2022. Once the year is complete and all data for 2021 is collected, Sole will offset 110 percent of all emissions from 2021 through ReCORK tree planting initiatives.

Reef: Paipo Sandal

Reef steps up this season with a new men’s Paipo sandal that is designed for longevity of wear, a key aspect of sustainability and circularity. The sandal upper is designed with a premium full grain leather strap manufactured using environmental best practices – ethically sourced by tanneries that are gold- and silver-rated by the Leather Working Group – with a soft, seamless, stitch free leather liner. The footbed is injected with the brand’s bio-based EVA made from renewable sugar cane. The shoe’s 51 percent bio content makes it carbon neutral and is considered a “greenhouse gas reduced product.”