Hugo Boss has introduced a men’s sneaker made with Piñatex, a leather alternative derived from the fibers of the pineapple leaf.
The project is part of the German luxury house’s search for “more sustainable ways to design, source, produce and finish” its products, Hugo Boss said.
Piñatex is produced in the Philippines by Ananas Anam, a London- and Barcelona-based company founded in 2013 by leather-goods expert Carmen Hijosa, who decided that the environmental impact of mass leather production was untenable in the long run.
The global pineapple industry produces roughly 40,000 tons of waste leaves each year, which are typically discarded, left to rot or burned, according to Ananas Anam.
The company uses about 480 leaves, gathered from 16 pineapple plants, to create one square meter of Piñatex. The fibers are felted together to create a non-woven substrate, and any leftover biomass from the process can be returned to the soil as fertilizer.
Since the leaves are an agricultural waste product, they require no extra land, water or chemicals to grow, Ananas Anam said. Plus, they provide farming communities with bonus income.
For Hugo Boss’s limited-edition trainer, the firm colored the textile with natural plant-based dyes. The upper comes in a quartet of hues, including brown and yellow, with shoelaces to match.
Combined with a recycled TPU sole, the shoe is 100 percent vegan-friendly and “designed to make a minimal impact on our planet, while also representing the impeccable design credentials that Boss Menswear is known for,” Hugo Boss said.
Other footwear brands, including Po-Zu and Bourgeois Boheme, have employed Piñatex before, but Hugo Boss is the first household name to bring the textile to market.
To further boost its eco-friendly bonafides, the sneaker is packaged in a “fully recyclable and biodegradable paper box,” made from 100 percent recycled fibers.
The shoe is available in selected Boss retail stores, as well as online at hugoboss.com.