For Australian brand FEIT, handmade is holy. Now they are taking their shoe ethics one step further with the introduction of a trainer that is 100% biological and, of course, handmade: the Bio Trainer 1.
Although not a sneaker styled for intense gym or physical activity, it's a sleek and environmentally friendly option to complete a smart casual ensemble.
Pronounced "fight", the brand was created in 2005 by Australian brothers Tull and Josh Price as a reaction to the mass, corporate shoe manufacturing system – deciding instead to keep to a niche and ensure that the enterprise remains on the smaller side to avoid corporate conveyor-belt style approach to shoes.
For those that feel that they have heard Tull Price's name before, they wouldn't be wrong. Tull was the design-mastermind behind the highly successful sneaker brand Royal Elastics, which took off to such great heights that it was eventually sold off to K-Swiss.
In the past, vegan and eco-friendly shoes used to only be associated with clunky and, let's face it, rather ugly designs, brands such as Melissa have helped to change this perception with their chic and fashion-friendly options – FEIT's Bio Trainer 1 certainly fits into the latter category.
The Bio Trainer 1 is crafted from a single piece of vegetable dyed suede or leather and is sewn by hand. The buffalo leather footbed meanwhile, is a welcome sole comforter and its natural properties make it the perfect partner for absorbing sweat and allowing the foot to breathe.
By far the standout part of this sneaker though, is its innovative natural latex rubber sole. The brothers carefully conceived a non-harmful method to extract the milk from the Hevea Brasiliensis (rubber tree) to create a naturally flexible sole that abstains from any kind of plastic.
The sole's creation takes two weeks: first the milk is harvested by hand, then moved from warm to cold water in order to open the pores while the milk-made material cures. The resultant sole material is then placed into a hot air dryer for 24 hours, before finally being immersed once again in cold water for one week before the final shape is trimmed, ready to be attached to the rest of the shoe.
FEIT have also kept the colours as minimal as their environmental footprint, sticking with three shades and styles: marine suede, black suede or white leather.
Luxurious yet responsible, FEIT have certainly achieved a feat in shoe design with the Bio Trainer 1.