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Western Boot Brand Twisted X Turns Plastic Bottles Into Shoes

Hot on the heels of Adidas’ range of sneakers made with marine plastic debris, Twisted X is launching a collection of lifestyle footwear made with uppers containing recycled plastic water bottles called EcoTwx.

Each EcoTwx shoe contains approximately 13 plastic bottles collected through recycling and volunteers. “Our goal is to sell a million shoes and clean up 13 million bottles,” Amber Vanwy, Twisted X director of marketing, told Vamp. “We drink about 50 million bottles a day and only 6 percent is recycled. The number is crazy.”

Twisted X President Prasad Reddy discovered the material during a sourcing trip to China. Initially used to make blankets for people who were homeless or underserved, the shoe brand adapted the material’s composition to be more pliable and less plastic-looking. The winning formula is 50 percent jute and 50 percent plastic water bottles, still maintaining the product line’s eco-story, but making it more comfortable to wear. “It basically feels like canvas,” Vanwy added.

While the sustainable material costs more than canvas, Vanwy points out that the footwear retails for a consumer-friendly range of $69.99 to $100. “Retailers are starting to see it. We’re getting a good reaction and they are placing orders. I think retailers are excited about the opportunity to tell an eco-friendly story,” she said.

The debut collection for fall includes men’s and women’s slip-ons and boat shoes and men’s chukka boots. The brand will expand the line for Spring ’18 with more everyday styles, including flip-flops.

To tell a complete sustainable story, Vanwy says the EcoTwx collection will be packaged in recycled packaging and include a tip sheet on ways to be more environmentally-friendly. The brand is also working with the organization One Tree Planted to plant a tree for each pair sold.

“What [EcoTwx] really does is prove ourselves to have some good causes,” Vanwy said, adding that the brand has successful programs that support veterans and breast cancer research. “EcoTwx gives us another arm. It gives up a tripod of things that we can talk about and actually put our money where our mouth is.”