Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials

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According to the BBC, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. In response, an increasing number of brands are making new products like hiking shoes made from recycled materials.  The process is increasing most significantly in the shoe industry. 

25 billion pairs of shoes are created worldwide each year, a figure that is increasing. Unfortunately, a small percentage of shoes are produced in a sustainable manner. This makes the textile business the world’s second most polluting industry behind the oil and gas industries.

Shoe manufacturing has a variety of environmental impacts, depending on the kind of material used, a pair of shoes may take up to 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill, which is why it’s so important to buy shoes made of recycled materials.

A list of hiking shoes made from recycled materials

REI Flash Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials - Men
REI Flash Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials - Women

REI Flash Hiking Shoes

  • Activities: Hiking
  • Recycled Materials: Recycled polyester from PET plastic
  • Upper: Recycled polyester knit, recycled thermoplastic urethane (TPU)
  • Midsole: EVA using 10% algae-based BLOOM® foam
  • Outsole: Rubber (20% recycled)
  • Height: Over the ankle
  • Weight: 1 lb. 13 oz. (Women) / 2 lbs. 2 oz. (Men)
  • Best Features: Waterproof, Super lightweight
Salomon Outpulse Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials - Women
Salomon Outpulse Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials - Men

Salomon Outpulse Hiking Shoes

  • Activities: Hiking, backpacking
  • Recycled Materials: Plastics PET bottles and miscellaneous waste materials
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Midsole: Fuze Surge Foam
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Height: Over Ankle
  • Weight: 1 lb. 10.8 oz. (Men) / 1 lb. 7.1 oz. (Women)
  • Best Features: Gore-TEX Waterproof, All-Terrain Grip Traction
Astral Rambler Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials

Astral Rambler Hiking Shoes

  • Activities: Trail Running, Casual Hiking
  • Recycled Materials: Recycled polyester
  • Upper: Hemp
  • Midsole: EVA foam
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Height: Ankle
  • Weight Per Pair: 1 lb. 2.4 oz. (Women) / 1 lb. 15.6 oz. (Men)
  • Best Features: High-friction rubber lug sole tread is ultra grippy, moisture-resistant, hemp-blend upper is naturally odor-resistant
adidas Terrex Swift R3 Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials - Women
adidas Terrex Swift R3 Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials - Men

adidas Terrex Swift R3 Hiking Shoes

  • Activities: Hiking, Backpacking
  • Recycled Materials: Miscellaneous recycled content
  • Upper: Knit
  • Midsole: EVA
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Height: Over Ankle
  • Weight Per Pair: 1 lb. 10.2 oz. (Women) / 2 lbs. (Men)
  • Best Features: Gore-TEX waterproof, Ultra grippy rubber outsole provides superior traction for wet or icy weather
Merrell Moab Speed Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials - Women
Merrell Moab Speed Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials - Men

Merrell Moab Speed Hiking Shoes

  • Activities: Hiking
  • Recycled Materials: 100% recycled mesh linings and 100% recycled laces
  • Upper: Mesh/TPU
  • Midsole: FloatPro foam
  • Outsole: Vibram Rubber
  • Height: Ankle
  • Weight Per Pair: 1 lb. 5 oz. (Women) / 1 lb. 7 oz. (Men)
  • Best Features: Vibram ultra-grip traction, super light-weight
Teva Ridgeview Low Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials - Women
Teva Ridgeview Low Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials - Men

Teva Ridgeview Low Hiking Shoes

  • Activities: Hiking
  • Recycled Materials: Recycled polyester
  • Upper: Textile/leather
  • Midsole: EVA
  • Outsole: Vibram rubber
  • Height: Over ankle
  • Weight Per Pair: 1 lb. 9.2 oz. (Women) / 2 lbs. 1.2 oz. (Men)
  • Best Features: Waterproof, ultra grip Vibram sole

What recycled materials can be used to make shoes?

A variety of recycled materials can be used to construct shoes and sneakers. This includes fishing nets, tires, plastic bottles, algae foam, and fibers from discarded fruits and vegetables like apples, mushrooms, and pineapples.  

What material are hiking boots traditionally made of?

Durability and protection for the feet are always top priorities when it comes to hiking boots. As a result, hiking shoes are made of more durable materials than your average pair of shoes.

Synthetic materials or animal-based leather typically used to make hiking shoes and boots.

  • Synthetic Materials: Polyester, nylon, and other synthetic materials like artificial leather are used to create hiking shoes. In most cases, a blend of components are used. Boots made of synthetic materials lack the inherent waterproofing of leather, making the waterproof membrane used in their construction all the more critical. However, synthetic materials are lighter and more flexible than leather, which could be more comfortable for long hikes.
  • Plant-Based Materials: Natural rubber, bio oil sourced from organic cereal crops, Tencell Lyocell sourced from wood fibers.
  • Genuine Full Grain Leather: Abrasion- and water-resistant leather with excellent breathability and durability. Used most effectively in rainy or mountainous areas. It is possible to get hiking boots in a variety of various thicknesses, depending on the kind of trekking you want to do.
  • Leather with a nubuck finish: Nubuck is full-grain leather that has been buffed to have a smooth finish. Nubuck is waterproof, breathable, and abrasion-resistant, but is also less durable than full grain leather. Durability suffers compared to full-grain leather, but flexibility increases.

What are hiking shoe soles made of?

Fiberboard, nylon, synthetic foam, or leather glued to the footbed are common hiking boot insole materials.

  • Polyurethane soles: Constructed from an organic polymer, these soles are long-lasting, slip-resistant, shock-absorbing, and water-resistant. They are also low density, inexpensive and can be created from recycled plastics and other materials.
  • EVA soles: Made with Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA), these soles are shock-absorbing, flexible and lightweight. EVA can be created from recycled plastic bottles and one of the most popular materials used for hiking shoe soles.
  • TRP soles: Constructed of thermoplastic rubber, these soles are well-known for their outstanding shock absorption and slip resistance. TPR soles are also lower in weight and more flexible than PVC soles.
  • BPU Soles: Composed of eco-friendly polyurethane materials, these soles are one of the most dense, hard soles available and also have excellent weather resistance.
  • Natural Rubber Soles: Used for centuries, rubber soles are tough, weatherproof and are water-resistant, so no worries about rain getting into your shoes.
  • Vibram Soles: Created in the 1930s and named after Vitale Brahmani, an alpinist and outdoor pioneer. These soles are robust, slip-resistant, and waterproof, making them a popular choice for hiking shoes.
  • Commando Soles: The thick lugs and rugged shape of commando soles make them good for all kinds of weather. The thick lugs also provide grip and traction. Commando soles are also thick and heavy, so use a different kind of sole if you want your shoes to be lighter.
  • Leather Soles: Leather soles are breathable, durable and can withstand harsh conditions as long as they are properly maintained.
  • Lug Soles: Thick soles constructed of rubber to provide great grip and traction. The drawback of lug soles is that they collect a lot of dirt and hence need frequent cleaning.

Are there biodegradable shoes?

Shoes made completely from plant-based and natural fibers are biodegradable. This includes shoes made of algae foam, bamboo, cotton, hemp, Tencell Lyocell wood-based fibers, sugarcane, apple or pineapple fibers, natural rubber and cork. Brands that make biodegradable shoes include Allbirds, Cariuma, Native, Rothy’s

Can shoes be made from recycled plastic?

The fashion industry has seen a considerable growth in the number of shoes created from recycled plastic during the last decade. Brands are using both current materials, such as plastic bottles, as well as new materials derived from natural and biodegradable resources.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is the most often used form of plastic in the production of shoes. It is a robust and affordable polymer that is frequently utilized as a material in the uppers and outsoles of shoes. Although it is best known for the plastic piping of the same name, additives may transform that durable plumbing fixture into an elastic, low-cost rubber replacement.

What is a polyurethane midsole?

Polyurethane is a durable, stable midsole material that is often used in trekking and mountaineering boots. When new, polyurethane (PU) is thick and heavy, and it normally takes a break-in time before it becomes flexible and comfy to wear.

Polyurethane midsoles will have a longer lifespan than EVA midsoles and provide better support. However, because polyurethane is usually heavier and more expensive, it is most often used for hiking boots. EVA is most often used for running shoes, where lightweight cushioning is important for speed and agility.

What is EVA and PU?

Eva foam is a soft foam derived from Ethylene-vinyl acetate. It is often used in shoe construction. EVA is great  for cushioning your feet which is why is it frequently used in shoes and sneakers.

Polyurethane foam (PU foam) is a kind of foam that is denser and often heavier than EVA foam. It is created from polyurethane. PU foam is more long-lasting and delivers durable support over an extended period of time.

If you like this article, check out hoodies made from recycled materials and tents made from recycled materials.

Sources:

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