Wolverine Worldwide, New Balance joins NFW Footwear Collective

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-09-25 13:56:37 – USA

In an effort to move the footwear industry toward naturally circular, sustainable footwear, Natural Fiber Welding (NFW) has announced that several footwear manufacturers, including New Balance and Wolverine Worldwide, have joined its ecosystem of plastic-free performance material solutions.

To encourage the broad use of low carbon, biobased materials that are safe to return to the planet at the end of a product's life, NFW claims that the industry leaders are a part of its quickly expanding Footwear Collective.

Katy O'Brien, senior manager of innovation at New Balance, said that New Balance recognizes that tackling our climate effect demands innovation, especially when it comes to materials. In order to create plastic-free, low-impact products that help them get closer to their corporate sustainability goals, they have been closely collaborating with NFW. In particular, New Balance will use NFW's Clarus natural yarns to create pinnacle performance footwear in 2024. NFW materials take into account every phase of the material lifecycle, from sourcing natural and recycled components through manufacturing with green chemistry and renewable energy to facilitating end-of-life composting or recycling. The whole industry is experiencing a transformation as a result of NFW's material advances in the production, usage, and "disposal" of goods.

In order to attain synthetic-equivalent performance durability using only natural inputs, NFW and Wolverine Worldwide previously worked together on a version of their popular Chaco shoe in which Clarus was used in place of previously used polyester components.

Barry McGeough, global VP of innovation for Wolverine Worldwide, said that Wolverine Worldwide is dedicated to sustainability. As they are convinced that the actions they take now can lessen their footprint tomorrow, one of their objectives is to lessen and appropriately manage their environmental effect. They actively look for sustainable materials and components for their goods as they strive to achieve this aim. While many leather substitutes are competing for their industry's attention, NFW's material innovation stands out since it is a petroleum-free material that is strong enough to be used in footwear, making it the desired option.

NFW and its partners will lessen effect along the value chain through the Footwear Collective. Partners include Ralph Lauren, Camper, Deckers, Allbirds, and Wolverine Worldwide. These companies, New Balance, and other smaller partners work closely with NFW to develop new products and market existing ones using the ecosystem of plastic-free, naturally circular materials that NFW has created.

Deckers Brands' Brooke Beshai, senior director of sustainability, said that at Deckers, they work to produce goods that are considerate of their environmental resources. They understand that in order to drastically lessen their environmental impact, they must prioritize using preferred resources such as recycled, renewable, regenerated, and natural materials. This dedication naturally led to their connection with NFW. By designing mindful products and collaborating across the industry to reduce their collective footprint, they're innovating to help tackle the problems caused by climate change.

Dr. Luke Haverhals, founder, and CEO of NFW, said that NFW's engineers have toiled assiduously to produce a natural solution for almost every component of a shoe. Some of their first partners, like Allbirds, Camper, and Deckers, who have provided their unique perspectives, have been with them on this trip since 2015. They have continued iterating to deliver what the footwear industry needs and what consumers demand while simultaneously meeting their uncompromising sustainability standards: zero plastic, low carbon, renewable, nutrient-based, and naturally circular. This has been made possible by their collaboration and deep alignment with their sustainability vision. With further releases planned with their new partners, they are happy to have a number of items available on the market in different countries.

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