Made partially from algae, Blueview shoes are made to fully biodegrade
Discarded shoes are a particularly bulky form of waste, with their molded rubber soles joined to often synthetic uppers. Blueview shoes reportedly offer a greener alternative, however, as they're claimed to completely biodegrade once thrown away.
Developed by University of California - San Diego spinoff company Algenesis, Blueview shoes incorporate uppers made of machine-knitted hemp/eucalyptus yarn (plus a cotton canvas strap), along with in- and outsoles made of a proprietary polyurethane foam known as Soleic.
The latter is manufactured utilizing oil obtained from algae, as opposed to the more traditionally used petroleum oil. Algenesis previously used the material in a pair of biodegradable flip-flops.
The Blueview shoes – which are now in full production – are claimed to be comfortable and durable while in everyday use.
Once they do wear out, they can't simply be chucked in the garbage – at least, not if you want them to biodegrade. Instead, they have to be placed in a compost bin or a municipal composting facility, where they're exposed to air, moisture, and microorganisms that will break down the yarn, canvas and Soleic.
According to Algenesis, third-party studies have shown that in industrial composting conditions, the uppers completely biodegrade within a few months, while the soles do so in a bit less than one year. The shoes should also completely biodegrade if they end up in the ocean, although throwing them in the sea when you're done with them obviously isn't recommended.
Blueview shoes are currently being offered in one model, the Pacific. It's available in color choices of black or "sand dune," priced at US$135.