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Style, innovation & equality

The first climate positive outdoor footwear brand presents the most sustainable trail running shoe yet

”A lot of retailers told us that they liked this shoe, but that customers not really care that much about sustainability. We strongly disagree.”

Words: Johan Magnusson

David Ekelund loves the forest and tries to get out there everyday. He studied philosophy and journalism and did a brief stint as a journalist at an evening paper.

— Then I figured that nobody needs the yellow press, but everybody needs good shoes, he says.

So, he co-founded Icebug in 2001.

— The short story is that two things are making us unique: traction and sustainability. We make shoes with a safe grip on all surfaces, even snow, and ice — and our traction technologies have won several awards over the years.

When it comes to sustainability, the brand’s been working for a long time to reduce their climate footprint. They’ve been analyzing every material and every process to make them more sustainable, without losing performance.

— This long process made it possible for us to offset our remaining emissions, as well as an additional 30% for 2018. Earlier this year, we became the first climate positive outdoor footwear brand, meaning we’re offsetting more CO2 than we cause. We are using the Climate Neutral Now model launched by the UN, which is really simple. Measure your emissions, reduce them as far as possible, and offset for the remaining part. From now and onwards, we offset for 200% of our emissions, says Ekelund.

Happy now? Didn’t think so. Their latest initiative, Outrun, has taken their sustainability work to the next level.

— For example, 20% of the midsoles are made of a material called Bloomfoam, which is a biomaterial made of algae plants harvested from polluted water sources. We’re also using 15% recycled rubber for the outsoles and 100% recycled polyester for the uppers.

You present this through a Kickstarter campaign. How come?

— A lot of retailers told us that they liked this shoe, but that customers not really care that much about sustainability. We strongly disagree, and we are now proving them wrong by showing the world that the running community wants clean shoes. The campaign is a way to reach minimum quantities for production, but also for us to accelerate the whole industry towards becoming more sustainable. Outrun will be available at the retailers who were supporting us from the beginning in March, and of course, in our webshop at the same time.

Any other highlights coming?

— We’re always experimenting with new products and projects. For instance, we’re launching a sustainable leather sneaker this spring, called Loe RB9X. This shoe also has 20% Bloomfoam in the midsole, and 15% recycled rubber in the outsole. The leather used is a gold-rated and water-resistant nubuck leather, which ages beautifully and is easy to maintain. It comes in four different colors, and I believe it will be popular among everyone seeking a casual and sustainable sneaker.

Ekelund concludes with a strong message, to you and the industry:

— I want to encourage everyone to act on their own climate footprint. Climate Neutral Now is a great initiative launched by the UN, where you easily can measure your footprint. The next step is to reduce your emissions as much as possible and finally offset the remaining part. For most people, the cost could be as low as $100. I think that’s a fair price for a full year with a clean conscience.


Read more here and find the Kickstarter campaign here.