Orba was created to make a change not just for today’s customer, but to make a change for good, period. The footwear brand, which is run by New Zealand startup Linax Limited, aims to address the global fashion industry’s problem of producing over 20 billion shoes that heavily rely on harmful synthetics each year, as the brand notes. Its solution is the biodegradable Ghost sneaker.
The new shoe is made up of natural and Earth-friendly materials such as a sole that is over 93% plant-based – including smoked natural rubber, rice husk ash, and coconut oil – with 4% beeswax. A unique upper combines three highly renewable plant materials using flax canvas, kenaf (hemp), and ramie (nettle) to allow for durability with comfort. The footbed compacts and shapes cork, coconut husk, latex, and agave sisal into three layers for ergonomic support. Its laces, labels, stitching, and embroidery are all crafted with certified organic cotton. Orba didn’t stop at the shoe itself either. The Obra Ghost’s packaging is made from recycled cardboard and uses only natural inks.
Orba’s newly introduction to the footwear world centers around its “absolute commitment to sustainability and fueling a circular economy.” Choosing renewable, plant-based materials without compromise in comfort is important. The brand notes that all components and materials are eco-friendly and still meet ISO standards relevant to casual footwear such as slip resistance, flexibility, and tear strength. Sneakers are also tested for pollutants to meet the required levels of certification. Orba’s goal is to ultimately evolve its footwear for fully compostable-certified.
When wearers reach the end of their use of the Ghost sneaker, Orba encourages you to simply place the pair in a micro-organism rich environment and materials are meant to break down at their own pace. The brand will also arrange for a return and pickup if wearers alternatively want to reach out to the brand directly via email. While the majority of the shoe is comprised of biodegradable materials, Orba still notes that there is still a small amount (less than 5%) of natural materials and compounds that cannot breakdown such as pine resin as well as traces of naturally occurring titanium, zinc, and sulphur. The brand stresses that these still come from Earth and are not poisonous through the end of life cycle of the sneakers.
In other footwear news, adidas introduced its latest “Made To Be Remade” shoe with the Terrex Free Hiker MTBR.