Lighten Your Footprint with Shoes Made from Recycled Cork
Feature from Maria Carter
Used wine corks are transformed into hip shoes for men and women. Photo: ReCORK
Boots, ballet flats and sandals made from old wine corks are coming to a store near you in the future.
Manufactured by SOLE — a Vancouver, B.C.–based footwear company known for its orthopedic shoes and footbeds that conform to the wearer’s feet — the shoes feature eco-friendly leather and midsoles, fabric linings and footbeds made entirely from natural, recycled cork.
SOLE’s designers had been tinkering with ways to use cork in their products when they heard about ReCORK, a cork-recycling initiative sponsored by Amorim Cork, the world’s largest producer of cork bottle stoppers, in 2009.
At the time, ReCORK had been collecting thousands of used wine corks from wineries in Napa Valley, Calif., with no concrete recycling plan in mind. SOLE reached out with their ideas and product concepts; Amorim took the bait.
“They decided it would be a great story for the cork,” says Matt Hughes, the brand manager of ReCORK and former national account manager for SOLE.
As Mike Baker, founder and CEO of SOLE, pointed out in a recent press release, “natural cork is already one of the world’s most sustainable and environmentally friendly products.”