Hong Kong-based footwear startup Lono has created a sustainable “sockless” sneaker made from plant-based materials.
According to the company, the new Lono sneakers are “insanely breathable” allowing wearers can go without socks – and, they’re made without using EVA and TPU that can harm the environment.
Ben Hui, founder of Lono, is the grandson of a Hong Kong shoemaker who began working in the industry 10 years ago. After seeing the industry’s impact on the environment due to using low-quality materials and high-volume production, he decided to do better.
Hui says his vegan footwear is inspired by the first known human shoes: sage bark sandals.
The company’s manufacturing tech turns the Sage tree bark into fine yarn, which becomes the shoe’s zero-waste fly knit upper. The shoe’s insole is produced from crude-free castor bean, and its outsole from algae.
Because of its elasticity, the shoe provides enough stretch to allow slipping in and out without the need to adjust the laces. In addition, it also has a built-in Solesock feature insole that users can easily replace when it gets dirty.
“Shoe brands across the world are turning to sustainable materials but misusing them for marketing, whereas Lono is maximising the potential and properties of these organic materials and translating them into shoes with remarkable functionality,” said Hui.
Launched as a Kickstarter campaign in February, the brand will open its first physical store in Techstyle X, Hong Kong, this November. Lono shoes are also available for purchase online at $79.