Corn, rubber, eucalyptus, and cork. These are the unlikely materials that come together to make the Kengos Lace-Up – a chic, clean, modern-looking sneaker that’s designed to safely biodegrade after you’re done with it.

The Lace-Up makes a very ambitious claim of being 98% natural and plant-based, making it environment-friendly and vegan-friendly too. Its aesthetic is guided by the materials used in it, resulting in a sneaker that looks distinctly unique. On top, you’ve got an upper made from Amaize, a corn-based fabric that’s hardy-yet-breathable. The upper body is lined on the inside with eucalyptus fabric, allowing the sneakers to regulate temperature, absorb sweat, and cool you down in the heat. The Lace-Up’s midsole comes made out of cork, which molds to the shape of one’s foot almost like a foam insert… and the outsole comes crafted from Kengos’ patent-pending Pure-Flex rubber, which is durable as a work-boot, but biodegrades nearly 35-times as fast.

Kengos is currently beta-testing their shoes, allowing a small group of people to purchase them and wear them for a period of 30 days. After a month, Kengos takes your feedback using a questionnaire and a small interview with its founders, and sends you a second pair of shoes for free when the Lace-Up line officially launches in November. When you buy a pair of shoes, not only do you become a part of Kengos’ effort to truly build something driven by real customer feedback, you also support a company with a goal of making products that are sustainable, environmentally friendly, and least impact the earth.

Designer: Dave Costello (Kengos)

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