For a multitude of factors attributed to costs and the environmental footprint associated with manufacturing using traditional virgin leather, footwear manufacturers are increasingly exploring alternative sources for sneaker uppers, using everything from mushroom leather to sneakers made from coffee grounds. Southern California-based CLAE’s Appleskin sneakers have entered the conversation, juicing the sustainability angle with a unique upper made from apple waste repurposed from the juice industry in Italy.
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The new unisex collection made from Appleskin has made a Fall/Winter 2023 appearance in CLAE’s most popular Bradley and Malone court shoes and Joshua runner. All three sneakers seem almost indistinguishable from their leather or vegan leather counterparts, with an attractive subtle speckling that hints of its apple-based sourcing.
CLAE invested an equal amount of eco-friendly sourcing to outfit their Appleskin sneakers with GRS-certified recycled mesh, laces, foam insoles, and GOTS-certified organic cotton lining to complete the sustainable spirit of the shoes.
The Appleskin eco-crew could go completely unnoticed unless given the opportunity to peer inside the shoes, where a “Made Of Apple” logo reveals its bio-based origins.
Our favorite non-virgin leather sneakers of all time, Nike Flyleather, are made using recycled leather scraps engineered into extremely resilient and easy to to maintain uppers. Sadly the brand has only intermittently released models with the material (our AF1s lasted over six years of hard wear before we parted ways). We’ll be testing a pair of CLAE Appleskin sneakers in the coming weeks to see whether this new apple leather bears similar fruit in comfort and durability.
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