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These Corn-Based Shoes, Primus Bio, Will Hit the Streets Next Year

On the heels of its recent Eco line release, barefoot footwear company Vivobarefoot said it will bring a plant-based shoe range to the market.

The new Primus Bio range will use a plant-based polymer based on industrial field corn in its sole and upper. The Primus Bio is part of the company’s mission to use 90 percent sustainable materials across its entire product range by 2020.

Seventh-generation shoemakers Galahad and Asher Clark are firm believers that barefoot shoe-making is sustainable shoe making.

The company has already pioneered shoes made of repurposed algae and an Eco range made of 50 percent recycled plastic using 17 recycled bottles per pair. Vivobarefoot noted that in 2017 it diverted more than 2 million plastic bottles from landfills and turned them into shoes.

The company said 60 percent of the outsole and 30 percent of the upper of the Primus Bio is made from DuPont Tate & Lyle’s Susterra propanediol, a bio-based, petroleum-free diol or glycol, resulting in a shoe the company believes is the least petroleum-reliant performance shoe on the market.

Susterra propanediol is created through a fermentation process using plant-derived glucose from the starch found in field corn and is petroleum-free, non-toxic and certified by the United States Department of Agriculture. The material gives shoes greater flexibility in the cold and is highly resilient to abrasions and general wear, the company said. Susterra propanediol is said to use 52 percent less energy than the standard petroleum-based materials and generate 32 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.

“Sustainability is our journey and we believe that the perfect shoe has minimal interference with natural movement and minimal impact on the environment,” Asher Clark, design director at Vivobarefoot, said. “The Primus Bio champions the future of sustainable materials, which I believe will be largely bio-based. This is an exciting step in the right direction away from the single use petroleum-based alternatives commonly used in athletic footwear and every action counts in our journey of redefining the world’s relationship with environmentally damaging materials.”

The Primus Bio will be available to purchase from the Vivobarefoot website in 2019.