A shoe that gives athletes a feel of floating on water

It’s not quite walking on water, but VIVOBAREFOOT and BLOOM will soon have athletes running on algae.

VIVOBAREFOOT, a minimalist running shoe company based in London, has announced its partnership with BLOOM, an American plant-based materials manufacturer. The companies have collaborated to create the ULTRA III, a shoe made from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam. BLOOM’s EVA foam is derived from algae biomasses at high risk of algal bloom.

Producing shoes using a plant-based material offers significant sustainability advantages. “Every pair will help re-circulate 57 gallons of filtered water back into natural habitats, and prevent the equivalent of 40 balloons full of CO2 being released into the Earth’s atmosphere,” according to VIVOBAREFOOT.

Furthermore, by sourcing algae biomass from areas at risk of algal bloom, the companies support a vibrant marine ecosystem. Harmful and uncontrolled algal blooms can deplete oxygen in the water and block sunlight from reaching fish and plants. Left unchecked, this algae could also release toxins that are dangerous to humans and animals or pollute drinking water.

VIVOBAREFOOT and BLOOM solve an environmental challenge in a unique and innovative fashion. Flexible and lightweight, the Ultra III will be available for purchase this July for $75 (Rs 4,800).

South African Endurance Runner Bennie Roux is one of the Vivobarfoot brand ambassadors.