Sustainable fashion brand PANGAIA is back with yet another addition to its range of wardrobe essentials. This time it’s a sneaker made with a grape-based leather alternative, an innovation created by the biomaterial company VEGEA in Milan, Italy.
VEGEA worked closely with Italian winemakers to manufacture an animal-free leather from their waste. According to PANGAIA, “each year, the global wine industry produces 26 billion liters of wine. Usually, this produces 6.5 billion liters of waste.”
This waste, including grape skins, pulp, seeds and stems, can be combined with vegetable oil and a water-based polyurethane (PUD) to create a bio-based material. It can then be coated onto organic cotton, resulting in a leather alternative made of more than 70% renewable and recycled raw materials.
Unfortunately, the material is not yet biodegradable and is difficult to recycle. With this in mind, PANGAIA opted to use VEGEA’s material in a product that is low-wash and long-lasting — the sneaker.
The made in Portugal Grape Leather Sneaker appears in a familiar silhouette, akin to the legendary adidas Stan Smith. It also features a partially-recycled rubber sole, water-based glue, and organic cotton laces with 100% recycled plastic tips.
PANGAIA also offers care instructions on its site, including the note that using water to clean your new Grape Leather kicks may cause the leather to shrink and dry out, making your shoes stiff and wrinkly.
PANGAIA touts itself as a direct-to-consumer “materials science company on a mission to save our environment.” It is a global collective made of scientists, technologists, and designers, all working together to create a sustainable collection of wardrobe essentials.
PANGAIA’s Grape Leather Sneakers went on sale for pre-order earlier this month, and are beginning to ship out today, March 30. They’re available in men and women sizes, in black and white iterations, for $195 USD.
In related news, adidas updated its iconic Stan Smith sneaker with a vegan leather made from recycled materials.