Independent footwear brand CLAE will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year with the release of its latest shoes, vegan sneakers made from Nopal cactus leather.
The Los Angeles-based company is committed to fashion conscious and sustainable: a previous line of eco-friendly trainers was made with materials like recycled hemp and fishing nets.
The cactus shoes are the result of the collaboration between CLAE and DESSERTO, creators of highly sustainable vegan productions and winners of the Green Product Award in 2020, of which I have spoken here. According to the sneaker company, this will be the world's first shoe made from a perennial cactus.
Green footwear: how vegan sneakers are made
The skin is made in Zacatecas, Mexico, from the mature leaves of the nopal cactus (also known as prickly pear) without harming the plant.
Grown with only natural minerals and rainwater at an elevation of 8.000 feet, the Nopal cactus is known for its low ecological footprint and is 100% organic.
The leaves are harvested every six to eight weeks to give the plant ample time to regenerate and help preserve local biodiversity.
After the mature leaves are cut, they spend a few days drying in the sun before undergoing the patented DESSERTO process which transforms the plants into soft yet durable vegan leathers for sneakers.
Vegan alternatives are increasing
Using animals for fashion is no longer the sign of luxury it once was. It is now rightly seen as a mere symbol of cruelty. For this reason the vegan alternatives are increasing.
Not just cactus sneakers: there is also some leather made from mushrooms, a very promising sector that always attracts new investments.
Not just cactus
CLEA does not stop there: the sneakers (called Bradley Cactus) are equipped with laces in nylon recycled from plastic waste, while the sole is made using 100% natural rubber. This natural rubber comes from the latex sap of Hevea trees. It is harvested in sustainably managed forests that help maintain the global atmospheric carbon balance.
Vegan shoes are also packaged with environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cardboard.
Bradley Cactus sneakers are currently available for pre-order at an exclusive starting price. At the exchange rate they make just over 100 euros, then they will cost 120 euros.
Vegan sneakers are available in white, black and green. You like them?