An innovative and eco-friendly sneaker concept that features only biodegradable materials.

Created by German designer Emilie Burfeind as part of her studies at the Offenbach University of Art and Design, Sneature reimagines the classic sneaker as a completely recyclable and sustainable product. The name is a portmanteau of “sneaker” and “nature”, alluding to the concept behind the design. Developed as a potential alternative to mass-produced shoes that use a wide range of resources and have a high carbon footprint, the sneaker also aims to provide a convenient way to reduce waste with a 100% recyclable and biodegradable build. Unlike traditional sports footwear, Sneature uses only three main materials. And all of them are completely natural as well as unconventional.

For the upper, the designer chose a widely available material that is usually discarded: dog hair. Using 3D knitting techniques, she created an upper that is warm, breathable, and durable. The special technique only uses the required amount of material, minimizing waste, and also provides the opportunity to customize the design with bespoke stitching. Designed without laces, the sneaker slips onto the foot like a sock. To add a water-repellent layer, the designer used liquid natural rubber to coat the underside of the sneaker.

For the inner and outer soles, she used mushroom mycelium mixed with hemp cellulose and organic waste products. Created with molds, the different elements interlock and fit into perforations on the knitted upper. At the end of its life, the biodegradable Sneature can either go through a recycling process or become compost. The concept opens up a huge range of customization possibilities while also keeping the carbon footprint of the manufacturing stage to a minimum. Photographs© Emilie Burfeind.

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