Well, that’s one way to put a spin on the term “foot fungus”. Adidas has announced a new addition to its Stan Smith line of sneakers, uniquely incorporating something called “Unleather”, a leather-lookalike made out of mushrooms. Yeah, mushrooms. Unleather, an alternative material made by bio-tech company Bolt Threads, makes up the bulk of the shoes’ upper body, while the midsole is natural rubber.
For Adidas, sustainability is no truffle
Adidas says it’s trying to, “help end plastic waste”, claiming that this shoe is the result of its “efforts into finding innovative solutions that are created responsibly with resources that renew at a sustainable pace.”
The entire production process takes two weeks, apparently. Bolt Threads specifically uses mycelium, the root system of mushrooms, and employs a “vertical agriculture technique” that maximizes yield per square foot. Get it? Square foot? The mushroom material (branded as Mylo) is grown in a Netherland based facility, The raw material is then tanned and dyed, resulting in a pretty convincing faux leather that can be styled and dyed further in a variety of ways. Any excess or waste is used for compost, so Bolt Threads is really going all out on the recycling front.
It’s an awesome concept, and a great move towards sustainability. Leather isn’t a particularly environmentally friendly material, both in terms of biodegradability and production (methane emissions and all that), which is why a handful of companies are starting to move away from it, either entirely or at least by offering alternatives.
The fungus-based-footwear has yet to hit commercial fronts, but Adidas says we can expect to see them in store shelves in, “the near future”. There’s no news on pricing yet, either, but we’ll keep an eye out.