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Yatay’s Luxury Footwear Won’t Make You Choose Between Style and Sustainability

Umberto de Marco, whose father Enrico founded Italian leather producer Coronet Spa, has launched his own brand of luxury sneakers with a focus on sustainability.

After co-managing his father’s company for five years, the younger de Marco saw a hole in the luxury footwear market: luxury shoe brands committed to sustainable sourcing and production weren’t making the styles he wanted, so he created his own.

That vision was Yatay, which launched this week. The initial single-shoe offering, called Neven, is unisex, minimalist and on the higher-end of the price range (from $270+ for the low-top model and $330+ for high-tops). The shoe features an array of eco-friendly materials, beginning with a sole made of “bio-derived polyurethane” filled with two green “bio-plastic” cores, which the company says is reclaimed from recycled plastic.

The uppers are composed of a vegan leather made from fabric created with recycled raw materials and a “bio-derived polymer.” Yatay says the construction will have less of an impact on the environment than typical practices, which rely on petroleum. The Neven’s interior lining is made from a recycled polyester microfiber and a water-based polyurethane solvent that is also used on the uppers.

The shoe also comes laced with locally-sourced Italian hemp and is buttressed and capped with organic cotton. All things considered, Yatay estimates that each shoe is biodegradable after a 500-day period in natural conditions.

Even the packaging was created with an eco-luxe mindset, as each pair of Yatay shoes comes in a plastic shoebox that is 100 percent recycled—and eliminates five plastic bottles for each box manufactured, according to the company.

The Yatay line is made in Italy using a production process the company says cuts emissions by 80 percent, compared to the industry standard. The dyes, which come in birch white, hemp brown, Yatay green, gulfstream blue and slate black, are non-toxic as well. What’s more, for every pair of Yatay shoes that is purchased, the organization One Tree Planted will plant a tree in a deforested area to help offset any extra carbon is emitted during production.