The world’s most eco-friendly shoes are made of algae, cork, and bison fur

Two companies that are known for their forward-thinking design and environmentally conscious approach to production have collaborated on a new shoe that is proving to be quite a hit on Kickstarter. Sole and United By Blue introduced the Jasper Wool Eco Chukka on Monday, March 4, and managed to hit the crowdfunding goal in less than 90 minutes. This unique new product has clearly struck a chord with backers, racking up more than $100,000 in pledges in less than 24 hours.

What makes the Eco Chukka so enticing? Well for starters, its designers claim that it is the most eco-friendly shoe on the planet, which is hard to argue with when you take a look at how it is made. For example, the shoe’s sole is made from recycled cork leftover from wine bottles. This is a surprisingly durable and effective replacement for other materials used in footwear, most of which are typically petroleum-based or made from plastic.

Bamboo fabrics replace cotton as well, reducing the amount of water needed for production by as much as 65 percent. The Eco Chukka even uses rubber made from rice and a flexible foam created from algae, too. If that wasn’t enough, the shoe is lined with merino wool and insulated with bison fur, both of which score high marks in terms of performance and sustainability.

Sole, which is known for creating custom insoles for footwear, and outdoor apparel manufacturer UBB say the Eco Chukka isn’t just good for the planet. The shoe is also stylish and versatile enough to be worn in a wide variety of environments. The merino wool fabrics deliver plenty of breathability, not to mention temperature and odor control while remaining durable. Since the shoes weigh less than two pounds and are designed to pack nicely into a suitcase, they’re great for travel, too.

Initially, the hope was to raise $30,000 to get the Eco Chukka into production, but shoes have been such a hit with backers that Sole and UBB blew past that number. As of this writing, the amount pledged has climbed above $103,000 with a month to go. That means the shoes should start shipping in July with an MSRP of $150. Early bird supporters can reserve a pair at a $45 discount, however, though it’s always important to consider the risk involved with backing any crowdfunding campaign.

Find out more about the Jasper Wool Eco Chukka on the official Kickstarter page.

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