Jun. 19, 2019Algae makes a mean smoothie, but it can also desecrate ecosystems and poison freshwater supplies. Thankfully, somebody’s doing something about it — making shoes.
The average American owns 19 pairs of shoes. Nineteen pairs of shoes that after consuming water, petroleum, and energy to produce, will ultimately wind up in a landfill, where they will take more than 50 years to decompose.
What a downer.
But we’ve all gotta walk, and at the end of the day, shoes are a basic essential. Is there a more sustainable way to produce them?
Companies are out there working hard on this, and it’s been a tricky problem to solve, particularly when it comes to performance footwear and athletics. The support, comfort, and durability required for these shoes typically make polyester athletic fabric blends and petroleum-based foams the materials of choice.
What Foam Shoes Are USUALLY Made Of
Shoes that are made from lightweight, performance-based materials lean heavily on petroleum as a key ingredient. Foam shoes in particular are made almost exclusively out of a petroleum-based polymer.
This material is not biodegradable, takes an enormous amount of energy to produce, and cannot be recycled.
Meet Bloom: The Foam Algae Shoe
We never bum you out without giving you a solution around here, and this is SUCH a cool one. Bloom Foam is a brilliantly innovative new material that’s replacing petroleum-based foams as the lightweight shoe material of choice.
Bloom foam is made from toxic algae blooms that have overtaken hundreds of square miles of water supplies. Using a filtration device that keeps wildlife from getting caught up in the processing, the algae is skimmed off the water and pulled into a harvester.
The water collected during this process is then filtered and put back into the environment, scrubbed of toxic algae for the local wildlife.
Once the algae has been harvested, it’s taken back to a facility where it’s dried out and mixed with plastic pellets, and eventually becomes — you guessed it — Bloom Foam.
Is It Biodegradable?
While I love Bloom Foam for freeing aquatic ecosystems from toxic algae and nixing one more demand for petroleum, it’s not yet a biodegradable material.
The algae is still mixed with a petroleum-derived compound. Though this process reduces the amount of petroleum needed for foam shoes, it does not completely eliminate it.
Where to Find Bloom Shoes
There are actually a LOT of brands already incorporating Bloom Foam into their product lines, but it’s done pretty quietly.
One brand with a massive line of Boom Foam water shoes for men, women, and kids is Vivo Barefoot, a company that makes shoes designed to keep you connected to the earth.
These companies also include Bloom Foam in some of their shoes or products:
Have you ever tried a pair of Bloom Foam shoes? Show us your kicks on Facebook or Instagram, and tag us in the post! @AvocadoMattress and @BloomFoam
Saola images used with permission ©Maggie Kaiserman