First you see them, then you don’t. That’s the premise behind a newly launched brand of baby shoes designed to disappear at the end of their use.
Oregon-based Woolybubs has developed footwear for infants made with fully biodegradable materials that dissolve in boiling water. The Newbie slip on was developed for parents whose desire for cute, practical staples is matched by their environmental consciousness, the brand said.
The soft-soled style is designed to support babies’ growing feet while reducing the amount of household waste that comes with raising children. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data shows that the average individual generates nearly five pounds of garbage each day—and children, who are constantly outgrowing clothing, shoes and toys, can up that volume exponentially.
Made from a proprietary fiber developed with polyvinyl alcohol, the shoes have a soft hand-feel similar to silk, and offer a similar durability to synthetic fibers, Millikan said. They can stand up to regular wear and tear, and will not dissolve in rain or other wet conditions. Once outgrown, the shoes can be placed in boiling water for about 40 minutes, where they will dissolve into a non-toxic monomer that can be flushed down the drain. They can also be disposed of in home or industrial composting bins, where they will break down over time.
“For new parents, it’s hard to resist all the adorable things out there for your baby,” the founder added, but the company aims to offer a “cute and practical option without the guilt.”