Imagine, shoes that look good, remain odourless and keep your feet feeling fresh.
Former professional athlete Tim Brown has designed a pair of running shoes that does exactly that– and they are made from wool. The athlete spent much of his twenties in New Zealand, a country where sheep outnumber humans six to one, and envisioned a sustainable shoe that was able to wick away moisture and regulate temperature.
It was while Brown was in New Zealand that he came up with the idea to design a wool running shoe. Merino wool seemed like an appropriate choice considering the nation’s sheep population. The former pro soccer player teamed up with San Francisco-based engineer Joey Zwillinger and were underway once they found a manufacturer in Italy.
The startup’s first product is known as Wool Runners, a lightweight, breathable shoe that comes in four colours: grey, light blue, dark blue and red. The shoes are performance-based and can be used for working out or everyday use, or both according to Brown.
At the moment, the company only ships to the United States and New Zealand. Shoes retail for US$95, an exceptionally affordable price for the running footwear market.
The shoe, including the insole, is made of sustainable wool and is based on a simplistic design with no visible logos on the outer. By the looks of it, it seems that the Merino wool-based product may be better suited for leisure wear than running. That said, we have yet to test them out!
The company officially launched on March 1 after two years of development. The team currently consists of seven people including Brown, a graduate from the London School of Economics and Zwillinger, a biotech engineer specializing in renewable materials.