YY Nation — Stylish Shoes Looking To Stomp Their Environmental Impact

YY Nation's Spectra Merino Shoe in yellow.
YY Nation’s Spectra Merino Shoe in yellow. YY Nation

Looking to step up your style without impacting the environment? Look no further than YY Nation’s, the maker of the world’s lowest carbon footprint sneaker.

New Zealand’s newest sustainable shoe brand just launched its eco-friendly Legacy Footwear Collection in the United States. All four sneaker styles in the collection — Alto high-tops, Cirro laced loafers, Nimbo slip-ons, and Strato tennis shoes — contain sustainable materials and serious style for an affordable price. 

This comes on the heels of three years of intense research and development. Constructed from a combination of Merino wool, bamboo, pineapple husk, recycled post-consumer plastic, algae, and sugarcane, the Nimbo shoe has the industry’s smallest carbon footprint of 5.45 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per pair, just a third of the carbon emissions of conventional sneakers. 

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The entire Legacy Footwear Collection has a carbon footprint ranging from 5.45 kg carbon dioxide emissions to 8.15 kg carbon dioxide emissions per shoe, which is 42% to 61% lower than conventional sneaker emissions of 14 kg carbon dioxide. YY Nation shoes are also Zero Carbon Certified and projected to be carbon negative by 2022. (This carbon footprint has been independently double-certified by thinkstep-anz B-corp and Ekos carbon trading social enterprise.)

“Every component of the Legacy Footwear Collection, from the soles to the laces to the packaging, is made with sustainable, natural, or waste materials that would otherwise be landfill-bound,” YY Nation founding director Jeremy Bank said in a statement. “We are conscious of how we bring things into the world but more careful of what we leave behind. We grew up enjoying nature as our playground, which is why we’re serious about protecting our land and oceans.”

Each style features ultra-fine Merino wool uppers. The soft, breathable fabric regulates temperature and wicks moisture to maintain all-day comfort. YY Nation ethically sourced this wool from New Zealand growers.

Shoes are woven with a 70% bamboo, 30% nylon mesh that resists moisture and contains natural antibacterial properties to keep feet cool and dry through any weather conditions. The bamboo is ethically grown in OEKO-TEK-certified sustainable forests, and the nylon thread is made from recycled plastic bottles.

Pineapple leather accents are sourced from a natural textile produced from waste pineapple leaf fiber created as an alternative to mass-produced animal leather. Pineapple leaves, the industry’s waste product, is typically burnt, producing massive amounts of pollution and carbon emissions. By turning them into “leather” for YY Nation shoes, the vegan alternative is not only a sustainable substitute for leather but supports a whole new revenue stream for pineapple farmers.

Sugarcane midsoles are made from bioethanol manufactured from pressed, liquid sugarcane. This provides the base for soft, durable, flexible white soles, replacing harmful oil-based petrochemicals. YY Nation sugarcane soles are considered carbon negative, making the shoe light to sport with lighter wear on the planet. The use of algae, another component in the midsoles, help to clean its rising presence in waterways and purify the air. With every sole, YY Nation clears 24 liters of water and cleans 49 cubic feet of air.

“We are on a journey to make the world’s most sustainable shoes,” Bank said. “While we’re off to a good start, good is not enough. These are the worst shoes we’ll ever make in terms of carbon footprint but are a leading sustainable option. It feels great to be making a difference, we just want to keep doing better.” 

Not only are YY Nations shoes some of the lowest carbon footprint sneakers in the industry, they’re also stylish, comfortable, and durable. The Legacy Footwear Collection is launching with four styles available in 12 colors that vary by style. 

YY Nation shoes retail from $98 to $128 and are available in whole and half sizes ranging from men’s sizes 3.5 to 15 and women’s sizes 5 to 13. The Legacy Footwear Collection is available exclusively at www.yynation.com.

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