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Allbirds launches first plant-based leather sneaker

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: Allbirds

Sustainable footwear brand Allbirds has unveiled its latest innovation, the ‘Plant Pacer’ sneaker featuring 100 percent plastic-free plant leather made from all-natural materials such as rubber and plant oils.

The ‘Plant Pacer’ marks a further step into the lifestyle footwear category for Allbirds, while also championing what it calls a “truly sustainable alternative leather.” The classic court sneakers feature a plant leather upper made with Mirum, created in partnership with material innovation company Natural Fiber Welding (NFW), in which the footwear brand invested 2 million US dollars in.

Unlike other leather-like alternatives, Mirum is 100 percent plastic-free, 100 percent vegan, and only contains natural materials like rubber, plant oils, and agricultural by-products, such as rice hulls and citrus peels.

Mirum also has a carbon footprint that is 88 percent lower than traditional bovine leathers and is 75 percent lower than synthetic “pleather” alternatives on the market, explains Allbirds.

Image: Allbirds

Allbirds unveils ‘Plant Pacer’ sneaker using 100 percent plastic-free plant leather

As well as utilising a sustainable alternative to leather, the ‘Plant Pacer’ lining is also made with Allbird’s eucalyptus tree-based material, Tencel Lyocell to enhance comfort and make it soft and breathable. While the outsole and sidewall are created using natural rubber, and the midsole features Allbirds’s SweetFoam, naturally made with sugarcane-based green EVA.

Allbirds co-founder and co-chief executive Tim Brown, said in a statement: “For way too long, fashion companies have relied on dirty synthetics and unsustainable leather, putting established ways of doing things and costs before the environment.

“We wanted to put an end to that, which led us to create the Plant Pacer. Through the innovative use of natural materials, like Plant Leather and others, we’re going to continue stretching the limits of sustainable footwear.”

Image: Allbirds

The ‘Plant Pacer’ will also come in a canvas version made with organic cotton, as Allbirds looks to expand into lifestyle silhouettes as part of its new approach to a “more contemporary line-up of footwear”. The plant-based leather version will retail for 120 pounds, while the canvas sneakers will be 110 pounds.

Allbirds targets lifestyle footwear category

Allbirds vice president of product design, Ashley Comeaux, added: “The Pacer represents the next generation of our brand, contributing to a community of consciously minded leaders who can wear their values on their feet as a wardrobe staple.

"Our customers aren’t one dimensional, and we want our designs to reflect their unique style and desire for depth and versatility in their closet."

The Plant Pacer and Canvas Pacer will be available from September 13 with a limited release on the Allbirds website, with availability expected to expand in early 2023.

Image: Allbirds
Image: Allbirds
leather alternative
Natural Fiber Welding
Sustainable Footwear