Natural cork wine closures are collected & recycled into a ground-breaking new line of carbon negative footwear.
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We need supporters like you to help us finance material costs and the full size run of production moulds and tooling that we require to begin.
The production of the footwear is being managed by the design and development team at SOLE. They have been making footwear and footwear related products for over 13 years. Yet, no matter how experienced our team is or how prepared we are to begin production, nothing is absolutely certain. There is always potential for interruptions to the supply chain or factory disruptions due to natural disaster or other factors that could cause delays. SOLE has in-house fulfilment centres that exist exclusively to ship product to consumers. They have shipped millions of units since 2000 and therefore fulfillment risks are not seen as significant.
As with all footwear, it is possible that the fit is not what you wanted or expected. SOLE stands behind all their products with a robust guarantee and a customer service team ready to handle any returns or exchanges, ensuring the complete satisfaction of their customers.
The three guys in the video are Mike Baker, Matt Hughes and Ryan Lawrie. Matt and Mike co-direct ReCORK (Mike is also the founder and CEO of SOLE). Ryan is the creative director of SOLE.
ReCORK is a SOLE sponsored initiative.
SOLE designs and manufactures orthopaedic footwear and footwear accessories. Learn more at your sole.com.
ReCORK is a natural cork wine closure recycling program and cork oak tree planting initiative. Visit recork.org for more information.
ReCORK is based in the United States, SOLE is based in Canada. ReCORK manages the collection of natural cork wine closures for recycling and SOLE manages the design, development, and manufacturing of the footwear.
Yes! If we didn't need your help, we wouldn't ask for it.
Because we believe in the potential of cork, we took several risks and overcame many challenges to build the ReCORK initiative. We did it because we knew the world needed a viable source of recycled material to help replace petroleum in the supply chain. Developing footwear that uses 100% recycled natural cork wine closures as the primary material in their construction has never been done before. It has been complicated and expensive to get to the functional prototype stage.
In order to make this dream a reality, we need support from backers like you to complete the moulds and tooling required for a full scale production run of carbon negative footwear. Working together, SOLE and ReCORK have proven that large scale cork recycling can work. With your support, the dream of a carbon negative shoe can be a reality.
The initial production run will be available in women's sizes 5-10, and men's sizes 7-13. Half sizes will not be available in the initial run.
If you are a half size, we recommend rounding up to the next size. For example, if you are a size 10.5, order an 11. If you are not satisfied with the fit once you receive your footwear, don't worry. You can exchange them for a different size.
All the footwear will come in standard medium width. Our footwear fits true to size. Order your actual shoe size.
When the campaign is complete you will receive a survey to collect all the necessary details.
Shipping is free within the United States. All orders outside the US will be charged a flat rate fee of twenty-five dollars. Backers outside the US who choose the DOUBLE UP reward, featuring two pairs of shoes, will be charged a flat rate fee of forty dollars for shipping.
If we are successfully funded, production of the shoes will begin in March 2014, and all rewards will be ready to ship May 2014.
You can’t make quality footwear without quality leather. As an environmentally conscious brand, we know we have a responsibility to reduce the environmental impacts required by the tanning process.
We ensure all our leathers are sourced from ethical tanneries that adhere to the standards set by the Leather Working Group (LWG), an organization with the objective of developing and maintaining a protocol that assesses the compliance and environmental performance of tanners, and promoting sustainable and appropriate environmental business practices within the leather industry.
It's no secret, we LOVE cork! It is a simply amazing and unique natural raw material!
What we know as cork is actually just the bark of a cork oak tree. The bark is harvested by hand every nine years. The process causes no harm and the tree does not get cut down. In fact, it is because the bark is harvested regularly and the tree never gets cut down that makes the cork oak trees such great carbon sink.
Bark harvesting helps the tree grow bigger and faster and live longer than an unharvested tree, extending it's lifespan to over 200 years. The larger the cork oak grows, the more carbon dioxide it locks away. It's sealed right in there!
Clearly, we could talk about how great cork is all day long, but you should really decide for yourself. There is all the information you could ever want in numerous reports and documents linked here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1vvkcv0pvsxa1s7/VlRXyhXwJd
Sure. It starts with carbon offsets. A carbon offset is made when a decrease of carbon dioxide emissions occurs to compensate for the release of carbon dioxide elsewhere.
To become carbon negative, an individual or organization needs to assess the total carbon emissions created by their operations and existence. Once their carbon emissions have been quantified, that number represents their carbon footprint.
Then carbon offsets can be made or purchased until the carbon footprint is reduced to zero. This is known as being carbon neutral. We chose to push past neutral, so that our footprint becomes carbon negative. When you are carbon negative, you benefit the planet just by existing!
Yes, they could. We encourage all companies to do just that. Wouldn't it be great if everyone quantified their impact on the environment and then took action to reduce or eliminate that impact?
Since we launched the ReCORK initiative we have made tree planting an integral part of the program. We don't just plant trees, we plant cork oak trees! Cork oak trees are especially good at pulling carbon out of the air. The cork oaks we plant will one day be mature enough to harvest and contribute to the supply of one of the world's most sustainable raw materials. So we are not just offsetting, we are helping to build and grow the cork forests, which offset carbon, prevent desertification and provide habitat and jobs.
Okay, I think I get it, but moving all those recycled corks around seems like it would have a pretty big carbon footprint. How does all that work?
From the beginning, we knew that we would need to minimize the carbon footprint of the collection process. So we built our network with multiple collection points and grinding facilities designed to minimize the transportation needed and optimize efficiency.
As the scope of our service expands, we will continually adjust our processes to complement the evolution of the collection network. There is no finish line in this process. More and more of our partners are multinational. This is a challenge but also a great opportunity to minimize the transportation footprint of the cork we collect. ReCORK is a global initiative!
We also use UPS’s carbon offsetting program to offset the collection of cork from our collection partners.
Absolutely! Cork oaks are amongst the best carbon sinks around because they are never cut down. Only the bark is harvested, keeping the carbon locked away inside for centuries.
We have planted over 8000 new cork oak trees in the Mediterranean forest in partnership with Quercus (the National Association for Nature Conservation) and the Criar Bosques project in Portugal. ReCORK has also committed to plant cork oaks in the United States as well, along the Napa Valley Vine Trail in California.
Are you introducing cork oak trees to a foreign environment? Do cork trees grow naturally in the Napa valley?
Cork oaks are not native to Napa Valley but are ideally suited for its climate and have grown there for decades. The specific locations selected for tree planting will be carefully vetted on a case-by-case basis by local environmental experts commissioned by civic leaders to ensure there is no harm done to the native ecosystem.
The goal is to plant trees in areas that will benefit the most from their planting. For example, areas suffering from desertification can be revitalized by planting cork oak trees.
Yes! There is precedent for this, and it should be no surprise that it has come from the cork industry.
Our primary collection partner, Amorim, is the largest cork producer in the world, and they are carbon negative! They served as the inspiration for our dream of carbon negative footwear.
This year we initiated a full carbon footprint assessment of the ReCORK program. You can view the report by clicking on the link in the CARBON NEGATIVE section above.
SOLE started making footbeds and footwear before ReCORK existed. The new carbon negative footwear collection represents our first attempt at building a footwear line from the ground up using 100% recycled cork.
Now that we have successfully replaced petroleum-based materials with natural and sustainable recycled cork as the primary building block of our footwear, we can begin to develop ways to retrofit recycled cork into all our existing products.
You can find recycling drop-off points or sign up directly at recork.org
No! That is a common myth, but in reality the single greatest threat to the cork forests is a reduction in global demand. The best thing you can do to support the cork forest is to choose cork products whenever possible. If you stop buying cork, then cork forests really will disappear!