The discovery of coffee goes back to the 15th century when a goat-herder named Kaldi first noticed how his goats were staying awake at night after munching on these certain wild berries. Fast forward to 600 years later and coffee isn’t just a global beverage, it’s also poised to become the next footwear material. Yep, you heard me correctly. Award-winning footwear company CCILU has figured out how to turn coffee grounds into a waterproof, durable, sustainable, lightweight, and vegan alternative to materials like leather… moreover, with over a quarter-million tonnes of waste coffee grounds being generated each year, our coffee habit’s beginning to have a pretty noticeable impact on our environment.
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The XpreSole® Panto comes with a slick contemporary design and a pretty impressive list of features. The rain boots are waterproof, dirt-proof, breathable, lightweight, machine-washable, have high traction, and are sustainably made by recycling coffee grounds from as much as 15 cups of coffee per pair of boots. If that wasn’t enough, the XpreSole Panto also went on to win the Red Dot Best of Best, the iF Design Award, and the A’ Design award this year. Is coffee all set to replace leather or PU leather as a footwear material? The folks at CCILU believe that the XpreSole Panto makes a pretty compelling case.
What’s rather remarkable about the XpreSole Panto is that it successfully manages to use coffee in almost every part of the shoe, barring probably just the laces. On the inside, an insole made from coffee yarn and flexible Ortholite foam gives you the comfort you need, while still remaining rather breathable so you don’t work up a sweat after wearing shoes all day. As your foot rests on the insole, it’s also surrounded by the XpreSole Panto’s inner lining, which is made from an anti-odor, anti-microbial, moisture-wicking coffee-infused fabric, woven together with Lycra and Neoprene for that 4-way stretch.
The outer body of the XpreSole Panto uses a 30:70 blend of recycled coffee grounds and Eco EVA, along with the outsole or the base of the shoe that additionally uses rubber pads for enhanced friction. Finally, the XpreSole Panto’s laces build on the footwear’s sustainable ethos by using 100% recycled PET bottles.
At the end of the day, the XpreSole Panto doesn’t just show that shoes can be made using recycled coffee as an additive, it also aims at being a shoe that’s measurably better, more comfortable, and easy to maintain. The ankle-boot design makes the XpreSole Panto perfect for wearing anywhere, even in the rain. The rubber outsole provides higher traction than conventional outdoor shoes on slippery surfaces, while the waterproof and dirt-proof shell makes the XpreSole Panto a perfect, waterproof alternative to leather ankle-boots.
The waterproof shell keeps your feet dry, and if the shoes ever get dirty, they can be cleaned in seconds by hosing them down. On the inside, moisture-wicking and breathable materials allow the shoes to dry off pretty fast… and here’s the clincher, you can just go ahead and chuck the XpreSole Panto boots into your washing machine every month and they’ll be as good as new.
CCILU’s choice of coffee is fueled by two reasons – for starters, leather isn’t really great at handling the rain, and it isn’t vegan either. Moreover, faux or synthetic leather is almost always made from plastic, adding to the plastic waste problem we’re currently facing as a species. Secondly, coffee waste is slowly becoming a burgeoning problem too, with roughly 1,000 tonnes of it being generated EACH DAY. Determined to hit two birds with one stone, CCILU decided to focus on creating meaningful, durable, and vegan footwear out of coffee. The coffee grounds are collected and dehumidified, before being turned into pellets using proprietary patented technology. Some of those are converted into thin yarns that are woven to create fabrics, while the remaining pellets are added as additives in a unique (and trade-secret) injection molding process to create the outsole and shell.
The multiple award-winning shoes come in a variety of earthy colors, and in low-top and high-top styles. Not only are the shoes vegan and sustainable, but at 230 grams they’re also 1/3rd the weight of the average pair of boots (they even float on water) and durable too. The shoes start at a super early-bird price of $89, and for an extra couple of bucks, you can get yourself a pair of socks made from coffee yarn too!
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