UNLESS Collective, the world’s first 100% plant-and-mineral-based fashion brand, has partnered with NFW (Natural Fiber Welding), a plant based material innovation company, to debut the world’s first regenerative sneaker – the best shoe for the planet: the UNLESS DEGENERATE.
The innovative shoe is made with 100% plants and minerals and zero plastic and is created to harmlessly decompose at the end of its life to birth something entirely new. It is the first product to feature all of NFW’s revolutionary plant-based material technologies that are durable enough for outsoles and soft enough for cushioning goals. Everything about this regenerative sneaker, from the plant-based leather to the natural rubber outsole to the tips of the laces, is made entirely from plants and minerals.
The DEGENERATE is the latest offering from UNLESS designed to attack the problem of plastic waste in the fashion industry. More than 24 billion pairs of shoes are made every year and 300 million pairs are thrown away. The vast majority of shoes are made with plastics and other petrochemicals, which break down into harmful micro-plastics that find their way into our rivers and oceans, our food and even our bodies.
The skate-inspired statement sneaker is durable, comfortable and, unlike conventional sustainable footwear, contains zero plastics or petrochemicals. The DEGENERATE features a cleaned up, stripped down upper with a deep cup-sole to create a strong, simple silhouette inspired by UNLESS’ birthplace: the Pacific Northwest.
The Degenerate is the first product to use NFW’s entire ecosystem of biobased, 100% plastic-free performance materials: a PLIANT™ outsole, TUNERA™ foam for the internal midsole, CLARUS® textile for the vamp and quarter, and MIRUM® leather alternative for the upper overlays. In total, 95% of the shoe by weight is made of NFW materials. It also uses low-impact textiles like linen, cotton embroidered lace tips, coconut husk, and Tencel™ thread. Every element of the Degenerate is biobased—meaning the shoe is designed to return to nature as nutrients for the next growth cycle. That’s circularity as nature intended—we call it natural circularity.
UNLESS takes responsibility for everything that it makes and ensures all their products can be repaired, recycled or harmlessly decomposed at the end of their useful life.
“The DEGENERATE is for anyone who doesn’t want to compromise their style to do what’s right for the planet.,” said Eric Liedtke, co-founder and CEO of UNLESS Collective. “And thanks to NFW’s unparalleled innovation in plant-based material technology, this sneaker will live a long, useful life … and when it’s no longer useful, it will be turned into valuable inputs for new soil products, allowing UNLESS to use the decomposition process to birth something entirely new.”
“NFW is excited to partner with UNLESS to create a breakthrough in lifestyle sneaker design, with the first-ever product to combine all of NFW’s biobased materials to create a 100% plant-and-mineral-based shoe,” said Luke Haverhals, founder and CEO of NFW. “This is the first shoe of its kind made with entirely natural inputs that is truly circular, meaning it can be recycled or safely returned to nature to become nutrients for healthy soil or provide inputs for the next cycle of consumer products.”
The UNLESS DEGENERATE is available in off-white and black colorways for $139 at UNLESSCollective.com. The first drop of this limited-edition sneaker is expected to sell out quickly, customers can sign up for the email list on UNLESSCollective.com for future restocks.