A sneaker that grows into an apple tree?
That’s what Johnny Footwear is bringing to market, now that it has raised more than $73,000 through a Kickstarter campaign that launched in October.
The Toronto-based brand intends to introduce what it touts as the first shoe that rapidly biodegrades underground and grows into an apple tree.
“Most people don’t realize the shoes they wear are harmful to the planet,” said Luc Houle, founder of the brand. “They contain plastic that floods our oceans and landfills and sticks around for up to 1,000 years. Our compound feels like traditional athletic shoes, but they biodegrade in three years rather than the typical 1,000.
“This is a new product, a new company and a new way of bringing innovation to the world.”
No worries, though — the shoes won’t biodegrade while they’re being worn. Instead, they require constant exposure to the elements in an underground environment to activate. After 18 months, the midsole will be 53 percent biodegraded and an apple seed implanted into the arch of the shoe is released, at which point it will begin the process of germination.
The inaugural model features an organic cotton, water-resistant upper with a breathable beeswax coating; a collapsible heel so the shoes can be slipped on without having to be laced up; a cork insole that is antibacterial and odor-proof, and are light, weighing 335 grams. “The shoes are so light, you won’t even notice you’re wearing them,” Houle said.
Not only do the shoes grow into trees, but Johnny Footwear has also committed to plant a tree for every pair sold since it realizes that not every person has the opportunity to plant their old shoes.
The sneaker retails for $135 and is available in black or white with red laces. The company is accepting preorders through its website for delivery in August.