Bio-Shoes: Bioplastic in foot-ware industry




  • The article deals with the topic of sustainable behaviour and materials used in footwear manufacturing.
  • It is found that footwear made from Malai and Piňatex, outsoles from 3D printed material is durable in country with higher humidity and better softness in bend.

Table 1. The major pollutants in the footwear industry by Abbot a Wilfort

Footwear Materials Environmental Pollutants
Leather Chromium, Aldehydes, Solvents
Synthetic Materials Solvents, VOCs
Textiles Process Chemicals, Biocides
Rubbers Rubber Fume
PVC Vinyl Chloride Monomer Cadmium, Plasticisers
Polystyrene Styrene Monomer
Polyurethane Isocyanates, (CFCs)
Adhesives Solvents, VOCs, Chlorine

Table 2. Biodegradable materials possibilities for footwear industry

Name of the biodegradable material Primary raw material PLA content
Pifiatex pineapple fiber Yes
Algiknit biopolymer from seaweed No
Malai coconut water, bacterial cellulose, nature fibers No
Nuatan bioplastics Yes
Flax flax Yes
MycoWorks mycelium No
Bloomfoam algae Yes
Vegetable tanned leather animal skin Yes


Simulations show that a sole of the shoe manufactured using wood as the material has less total deformation compared to that of Rubber. The manufacturing cost of the shoe is drastically reduced by the usage of wood as the material compared to other materials.

Table 1. Material under consideration

Material Young’s modulus [GPa] Tensile strength (MPa) Flexural strength (MPa)
Abaca 4) 500-700 40.24
Pineapple leaf 127 6.51 21
Steam corn 95.8 74 17.4
Bamboo 5-25 100-800 76.5
Coconut shell 856 30.6 46.5
Flax 60 345-1035 43
Hemp 30-60 400-938 54

Hence the manufacturers found the amalgamation of science and Vedas.

Bio-degradable Footwear in Market

Balena a material science company, has stepped out in the field of Bio-degradable footwear made up of circulated industrial or local compost. Its proprietary “BioCir” 100% is a compostable, durable, soft, flexible, and smooth plastic which makes it a perfect alternative for current polluting shoe material. This product is protected under US11485849B2 patent.


Image source:

Reebok has enter into bio-degradable shoes market, which mainly used components derived from eucalyptus, algae, and castor beans.

Graphs are the pictorial definitions of the huge text data that makes the data easy to understand.

Graphs created using the data derived from the patent records.

Two graphs show the variety of numbers in patents filed on the element of the shoe and the number of patents filed in specific priority years

The graph “Specification Vs Patent count” elaborates the number of patents filed on various elements/parts of shoe like shoe vamp, shoe covers, etc.

specification-imgMost (16) of the patent records were found on Shoe as a whole and not on its specific part; And the least (01) records were found of Shoe Vamp and Shoe Cover.

The Pie Graph “Priority Years Vs Patent filings” shows the number of patents filed in Priority years from 2012-2021.

priority-year-imgThe Pie- diagram represents Patent Filings in the Specific priority years, from 2012-2022. 2019 has maximum patent filings (10) and the years 2012, 2015 and 2018 have the least patent filings (1).



  • There are lots of companies working in the area  of Bio-degradable material or Bio-plastic material which are used in Shoe or footwear manufacturing.
  • Companies like Reebok, Balena, Blueview, are also now emerging with their Bio-degradable footwear range.
  • Bioplastic materials are used for making various aspects of a shoe or footwear like vamp, heel, covering, or the whole footwear itself.
  • Natural and renewable or easily bio-degradable leather substitute materials like bacterial cellulose (BC), Polyolefins (bio -PE or bio -PP), polyesters (bio – PET, PLA or BOPLA, PEF, PHB, PBAT, PBS, PBSA) are used in shoe making. These footwear are durable.
  • It could be concluded that Bio-degradable Shoe or Use of Bio-plastic in footwear industry is not only booming in with fashionable and customized footwear but also looking forward to More Greener and Cleaner Environment.
  • Active companies are inclined towards providing a fashion-wear along with appropriate material.

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