Apples, pineapples, grapes, corn… no. These aren’t ingredients for a fruit salad. These are what the MoEa sneakers are made from. Using a unique technology that turns fruit into footwear, MoEa is ushering in an era of vegan leather that’s just as good as the real deal. Why? Because these plant-based leathers emit 89% less carbon than regular leather. And they help us deal with our massive food-waste problem too.
It’s easy to dismiss vegan leathers as some sort of ‘gimmick’, although at scale, leather production has an undeniably ugly impact. Animal breeding accounts for over 10% of all global carbon emissions, and leather tanning results in tonnes of toxic chemicals making their way into our soil and water. Moreover, slaughtering an animal for making a shoe seems a little like overkill if you ask me. The obvious alternative footwear material, plastic, has a reputation that precedes it. Aside from being virtually impossible to recycle, plastic footwear will erode over time, causing micro-particles to enter our ground, air, water, and eventually, our food cycle.
MoEa believes they have a better alternative that knocks two birds with one stone. Not only do they replace the traditional leather and plastic with bio-materials, but they rely on food-waste like grape pulp from the Italian wine industry, pineapple leaves from the Philippines fruit industry, non-edible corn from the American corn industry, and unassuming cactus leaves from Mexico. Turning waste into raw materials, MoEa sneakers bind these fruit and plant fibers with cotton, or blend them with bio-polyurethane to create a new family of bio-materials that have a measurably lower impact on the environment. They look and feel just like leather, while being breathable, recyclable, and as an added bonus, cruelty-free.
An abbreviation of the words Mother Earth, MoEa strongly believes that the best way to pivot the fashion industry is to physically show that it’s absolutely possible to build products that are sustainably made. The movement starts at MoEa’s headquarters in Italy, arguably the epicenter of global fashion. Surrounding by companies that are a part of the ‘fast fashion’ problem, the folks at MoEa deciding to pave the way forward as an entirely sustainable footwear company. I say entirely because each MoEa sneaker is building sustainably from inside to out.
40% recycling rubber
On average, each sneaker is roughly 49% plant/fruit by composition. The insole is from a soft, breathable 100% recycling wood fiber. While the soft inner lining of the shoe is a moisture-wicking recycling bamboo fabric. Based on the style of shoe you choose, the outer body could be from a variety of leathers, ranging from food waste generating by apples, grapes, corn, pineapples. Or even just harvesting cactus leaves. The individual vegan leather pieces are stitching together and gluing to a 40% recycled rubber outsole with a water-based glue. Before being finished off with organic cotton laces. Even the box that the shoe comes in is made from recycled paper. And is devoid of any plastic or even extra paper frills. All the important instructions to take care of your shoe are directly printed on the inside of the box.
It’s justifying to be a little skeptical of footwear made out of fruit – I’d be too. Although MoEa’s done their fair bit of R&D to ensure. That the shoes perform as great as they look. The shoes are designing to be water-resistant and testing for durability. They’re producing by skilled workers at MoEa’s supply center in Portugal. And the company’s even committed to building a circular economy around the product. At the end of the sneakers’ life-cycle, consumers can ship them back to MoEa for free in return for a 10% discount on the next pair of shoes. The returning footwear will be appropriately disassembling, shredding. And repurposing into a fresh set of sneakers. Helping reduce overall waste while minimizing the shoe’s carbon footprint. As they say, an apple sneakers a day keeps carbon emissions at bay.