Shoes of pineapple waste

Fashion label Hugo Boss has launched a range of vegan men’s shoes made from a natural material consisting of pineapple leaf fibres called Pinatex.

The shoes’ uppers are made from the pineapple leaf-derived material, which is made without any animal products and coloured using plant-based dyes.

The shoes have a recycled thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) sole and are available in blue, black, orange and yellow.

Pinatex is produced as a by-product of the existing pineapple growing industry. Unlike leather production, which uses a lot of water and requires chemicals for the tanning process, Pinatex allows farmers to make money from a waste product that would otherwise not be put to use.

To produce the material the leaves are stripped of their long fibres at source. These are then de-gummed, and formed into a non-woven mesh, which is finished to give a soft, flexible alternative to leather.

The material was developed over seven years by Dr. Carmen Hijosa, a former consultant to the leather goods industry, initially as part of the Royal College of Art in London’s incubator programme called InnovationRCA.

Other alternatives to leather include Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Don Kwaning’s Lino leather, and Dutch designer Tjeerd Veenhoven’s palm leaf leather alternative, which he has used to make rugs.

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