With Its Latest SustainaSole Collection, Sanuk Unveils Its Eco-friendliest Shoe Yet


Working with foam manufacturer Blumaka, Sanuk has been able to create a shoe that is 55 percent total recycled material by weight.

Founded on “good vibes” and promoting a mission of environmental responsibility, the Goleta, Calif., footwear brand Sanuk recently unveiled its second SustainaSole Collection of shoes for men and women. Following the launch of the line in July, Sanuk returned Nov. 12 with an improvement on the original SustainaSole design in order to offer a more-sustainable shoe in its women’s slip-on Donna style and men’s slip-on Skuner.

“The goal of this project was to use as much recycled content as we could and to reduce our overall environmental impact,” Katie Pruitt, senior manager of product development at Sanuk, explained.

In order to create its more-responsible footwear, Sanuk, which is owned by Deckers Brands, partnered with the foam manufacturer and innovator Blumaka. The Santa Barbara, Calif., firm specializes in developing foam primarily for the footwear industry with a focus on uncovering sustainable approaches to this type of product.

“Blumaka is a supplier who is pushing the bounds of sustainable-material development and processing,” Pruitt said. “They are consistently reducing their footprint with innovations to their process and the materials they source.”

Through its work with Blumaka, Sanuk was able to bypass traditional foams that are completely virgin in favor of a foam sole in order to yield a shoe that is 55 percent total recycled material by weight. Foam scraps that would otherwise enter the landfill following manufacturing were, instead, collected by Sanuk and Blumaka, ground down and included in the creation of a filler for the brand’s shoe soles, which it says afford a cushion feel with a durable fabrication.

Utilizing Blumaka’s patented technology, Sanuk is now able to offer a bottom sole that comprises 35 percent recycled foam content by weight and 75 percent by volume. While the brand is focused on the ways in which it can improve to become more sustainable, it is also transparent. In addition to listing all the materials that were developed from recycled sources, Sanuk revealed that its stitching, gore, reinforcements, polyurethane binding agent and thermoplastic polyurethane are created from non-recycled materials.

Additionally, Sanuk took its responsible manufacturing further by creating its uppers with 100 percent recycled Global Recycled Standard–certified fiber, which includes recycled polyethylene terephthalate, recycled cotton and recycled polyester. Utilizing this approach to its shoe, Sanuk has created a product that is also vegan.

To promote water quality and save energy, SustainaSole developers decided to rely on an undyed upper. The company estimates that through this decision each men’s Skuner model saves 115 gallons of water and every women’s Donna model preserves 76 gallons of water. The total amount of water saved through production of this collection equals 200,000 gallons, according to Sanuk, which also cited a greenhouse-gas reduction of nearly 2 pounds per Skuner model and 2 pounds per Donna model.

One of the largest pollutive issues within fashion is the amount of waste that results along the supply chain and at the post-consumer level. A realization by conscientious consumers has led shoppers to recognize that investing in quality products, which simply require a wash to look new again, is more beneficial to the planet rather than discarding apparel and footwear in the trash. With this in mind, Sanuk created its SustainaSole line with the intention that the footwear would be machine washable in order to extend the life of the shoes.

“When someone buys a pair of SustainaSole, they are voting for the environment with their purchase,” Pruitt said. “Sanuk is serious about pushing the boundaries of sustainability, and this is just one piece of the puzzle that can help us achieve our greater sustainability goals.”

Photos courtesy of Sanuk.