The Italian “ethical luxury footwear brand” ADAR said it will launch its debut shoe—a vegan apple-leather sneaker—on Kickstarter Tuesday.
Described by ADAR’s founders, the Zurich-based fashion entrepreneur and creative Luca Matteo Manuzzi and Florence-based designer Willy Anne Wijnja, as a “vegan sneaker for a conscious generation,” the Waver features an upper made from apple leather and recycled polyester, a 40 mm outsole made from recycled rubber, an inner lining made from bamboo fibers and an insole made from apple leather and recycled latex.
Each shoe was made in Italy with 100 percent Italian materials, ADAR—About Designing Abstract Realities—said. The brand framed the Waver as “premium footwear for discerning sneaker aficionados who appreciate the importance of artisanal crafts, contemporary design, innovation and eco-friendly manufacturing.” According to ADAR, the apple leather it used to construct the shoe’s upper and insole is “ecologically sound, breathable, waterproof and durable.”
“Our mission is to design ethical luxury products for consumers [who] value aesthetics and craftsmanship as much as sustainability,” Manuzzi said in a statement.
The Waver’s arrival follows appearances at international events, including at Phoenix Fashion Week last year. The shoe first became available via a pair of “pre-launch” events last spring and summer. It will retail for 335 euros, or $350. A portion of sales from every sneaker will support efforts to build more beehives across Tuscany.
A report published by the Material Innovation Initiative (MII) earlier this year projected the potential global wholesale market for next-generation fashion materials will top $2.2 billion by 2026. Of 40 leading fashion brands that the MII has met with, all but two were “actively searching” for next-gen materials to deploy into their supply chains, it said.
In polls commissioned by MII, 55 percent of U.S. respondents and 66 percent of Chinese respondents said they preferred alternatives to traditional cowhide because of animal-welfare and environmental concerns. Most said they would pay more for products made from next-gen materials that align with their values.
Alt leathers have become a particular focus of innovation. This spring, VitroLabs raised a $46 Series A from investors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Kering to scale lab-grown leather. In March, Polybion announced the launch of the world’s first bacterial cellulose facility, where it will scale up the production of a cellulosic material derived from agro-industrial fruit waste. Late last year, Bestseller and PVH Corp. helped found a cooperative spearheaded by Amsterdam sustainable innovation platform Fashion for Good and New York materials company Ecovative, to bring the latter’s petroleum-free and animal-friendly Forager Hides material to the consumer market at scale.