Lifestyle & Culture

Sampa Has Developed Sustainable Sneakers From Apples

The group of friends from Ireland has developed an "Appleskin" shoe as an ethical, sustainable alternative to leather.

18.08.2020 | by Christy Romer
Photo by Sampa
Photo by Sampa

If you’ve been following Global Shakers, you’ll know how passionate we are about sustainable fashion. We’ve covered clothes made from cactus, pineapple, bananas, oranges—even old milk!

But Sampa’s brilliant new trainers may be the first time we’ve ever seen a leather substitute made from apples.

As explained on a Kickstarter page, the team at Sampa is using “Appleskin” for its fresh-looking tennis trainers—an award-winning material made from discarded apple waste in Northern Italy.

The apples’ cores, seeds and skins are dried and milled into a powder. This is then applied to a roll with cotton fabric and heated up to give an added protective layer. The result is a breathable material that is durable, weather-resistant and vegan.



Photo on Sampa Kickstarter page


Sampa The Great


Every element of the Sampa tennis-style shoe is designed and delivered with sustainability in mind. The laces are made from locally sourced organic cotton. The insoles are handmade, using recycled PU materials from the automotive industry.

Even packaging is minimised: The shoebox doubles up as a delivery box; there’s no plastic in the box; and the shoes are dispatched directly from the Portuguese workshop.

“It is important to us that everyone involved receives a fair wage and has a comfortable working environment with humane working hours,” the team adds on Kickstarter, highlighting a relationship with a small, family-owned workshop just outside Braga, Portugal.




“Our journey started when we looked for a pair of shoes that met three simple requirements: They needed to be made using sustainable materials under ethical working conditions, have a simple elegant design and, of course, they had to be affordable,” they write.

“We couldn’t find a shoe that met our needs so we decided to put our combined experience with design, business and technology together and set out to create a pair ourselves.”

The shoes cost 133 euros, which may be slightly steep, price-wise. But their commitment to sustainability is almost unrivalled.

For every pair of shoes made, an indigenous tree is planted in Ireland, via a partnership with Trees on the Land.

The shoes are available in five designs: White / Red, White / Green, White / Beige, White / Pink, White / Blue.

“The sleek, clean-lined aesthetic, crossed the divide from sports shoe to dress shoe and can now be dressed with anything. This was essential to us, as it helps reduce needless consumerism by maximising versatility across outfits.”

Sampa has to date raised 30,000 euros on a 20,000 goal.

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