GERMAN FOOTWEAR COMPANY MAKES VEGAN LEATHER SHOES FROM OLIVES
Thies has been making footwear since 1856. The ultra-fine leather featured in its newest collection is made using a method called “wet-green.” The active ingredient of wet-green, known as OBE, is collected from the leaves of olive trees with a method similar to brewing tea.
The process is sustainable and helps to reduce waste in the olive industry. In Europe, roughly 12,000,000 tons of olives are harvested every year, according to natural leather company wet-green, that patented the method. After the harvest and pruning of olive trees, 10 percent of the harvest weight remains. This 10 percent is used to make thies’ plant-based leather. According to wet-green, the process is “completely harmless across the entire value chain.”
Thies writes online, “no tree is felled, no plant sacrificed and no fields cultivated which would otherwise be used to produce food.”
The uni-sex shoes by thies are available for adults and children. The kids’ footwear is made entirely with the olive leather whilst the adult sneakers feature a rubber outsole and veggie-tanned, chrome-free lining.
Thies isn’t the only company to use plant-based ingredients to make environmentally friendly, vegan leather. Fellow German shoe brand nat-2 uses repurposed coffee grounds to make its animal-free leather shoes. The shoes contain up to 50 percent recycled coffee and hold a natural coffee scent.
Dutch designer Tjeerd Veenhoven crafts, by hand, textured vegan leather rugs made out of palm leaves. And luxury fashion brand Hugo Boss makes men’s shoes out of pineapple leather.
Designer Don Kwaning uses linoleum – budget flooring – to make fabric similar to rumen leather, conventionally made from a cow’s stomach. Innovation across the vegan leather field is reducing the need for animal-derived leather. The plant-based leather industry is projected to be worth $85 billion by 2025.
Thies’ unisex sneakers are projected to cost €160. The children’s shoes are set to cost €70.