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Gear Junkie: Running shoes made from ‘Algae Foam’

The VivoBarefoot X Bloom, a running shoe made of a hybrid algae-EVA foam. (VivoBarefoot / Courtesy)
The VivoBarefoot X Bloom, a running shoe made of a hybrid algae-EVA foam. (VivoBarefoot / Courtesy)

A bucket of pond water might not seem like a performance enhancer. But that could change this year with a shoe from a UK-based brand called VivoBarefoot.

The running shoes will be the first made of a hybrid algae-EVA foam. They offer an alternative to the petroleum-based product that’s found in almost every other running shoe.

The algae-foam provider, Bloom Holdings, culls its biomass from freshwater sources. It then mixes the algae with EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) to make a pliable, cushiony material.

The resulting algae-based material will, according to Bloom, “meet or exceed existing performance standards” for traditional foam. This is thanks to its “natural thermoplastic qualities,” Bloom cites.

The footwear – called the VivoBarefoot X Bloom – came to market in July. They are based off a current design the company sells, which cost $75.

In addition to a petroleum-free makeup, the company touts environmental advantages. This includes lessening the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere during manufacturing.

Keep your eyes open for the “algae shoes.” They have a strange design and an even weirder material technology inside.

On the net: gearjunkie.com.