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This Low-Impact “Bendy” Shoe Could Give Allbirds a Run for its Money

Meet the Bendy, a forthcoming slip-on sneaker from Ashbury Skies that might give Allbirds a run for its money.

Supremely flexible, to the point where you can fold the shoe in half, the Bendy is the first exclusive shoe from the digitally native retailer, which typically fetes wares by independent designers.

The loafer features a leather and suede upper, which Ashbury Skies said it sources from one of Italy’s leading responsible tanners, a cushioned footbed (“like the ones in high-performance running shoes”) and a chunky white sole that resembles zipper teeth when viewed from the side.

The Bendy also has green cred to spare: It’s handcrafted in California, cut to order (read: generates less waste) and uses stitching in lieu of potentially toxic glues.

“We will not B.S. you and tell you that these shoes have zero environmental impact—going barefoot is zero impact,” said Yvette Turner, co-founder and partner at Ashbury Skies. “Instead, we have a simple construction of great materials made by some very kind and talented folks in downtown L.A.”

Because production is local, the shoe doesn’t have to be transported over vast distances, allowing it to maintain a lower carbon footprint, Turner said. The Bendy also promotes fair wages for California workers, she added.

A typical running shoe generates 30 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions—the equivalent of keeping a 100-watt light bulb on for one week—according to a life-cycle assessment by MIT’s Materials Systems Laboratory. Two-thirds of the shoe’s impact derives from the manufacturing process, which can require more than 360 processing steps to create as many as 65 discrete parts.

The Bendy, in comparison, has just four components, which makes it less energy intensive.

“It was clear to us the planet did not need just another shoe,” Turner said. “It needed one with a conscience.”

The Bendy, whose release date is still TBD, will retail at $149 when it launches. (Consumers can sign up to be notified when it drops.) A selection of both neutral and bold colors will be available, including cement gray, marine blue, lollipop red and mustard.