Meet the World's First Biodegradable Shoes

OAT Shoes created the first biodegradable shoe collection that can actually be planted in the ground. Photo: OAT Shoes

It’s not often a company recommends that you bury your shoes in the backyard, but that’s exactly what OAT Shoes says. As makers of the world’s first biodegradable shoes, that advice is perfectly legitimate.

OAT debuted the shoe collection at the Amsterdam International Fashion Week last month, where they won second place in the Green Fashion Competition.

The “Virgin Collection” comes in four colors – red, blue, green and yellow – and are made from canvas and seed-embedded cork soles that will break down over time.

The company spent two years in research and development, visiting modern factories and ancient craftsmen to find the right combination of materials and manufacturing principles.

While the 900-shoe limited run will only be available in Europe, demand could spread to the U.S. soon.

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  1. Hi Megan,

    I might have to argue that this is not the world’s first biodegradable shoe – unless you are using the word “shoe” literally. Feelgoodz flip flops have been around for a number of years now and their flop is entirely biodegradable as well.

    The tennis shoe is pretty cool as well. I am looking forward to it coming to the states. The bottom of the shoe with the tree design is pretty awesome as well!

  2. The export of used shoes (not high heels) to Africa for reuse is one of the highest revenue generators for St. Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army, and Goodwill Industries. The infamous “reuse a shoe” program which shredded up sneakers for asphalt was pretty unfriendly to this reuse market, I hope this effort doesn’t turn out to be more “planned obsolescence in hindsight”.

  3. Actually, while the leather in leather shoes is biodegradable, there are many other components in those shoes, such as plastic and glue, that are not biodegradable.

  4. When can I get a pair. That is what we all should be talking about. These shoes are fire and can jump start the green fashion movement. So excited

  5. Also, “seed-embedded”….Does this mean eventually they’ll grow into plants?! I wonder if you can order specific trees and shrubs for your cork soles…

  6. Robin – Exporting used clothing and shoes to developing countries actually stunts their domestic industries. Because used clothing from the US and other developed countries are so cheap in comparison to local textiles, clothing, and shoes – this has actually destroyed a huge part of these country’s economies.

    A pair of shoes was never meant to be used infinitely, so I’m glad companies like OAT Shoes and Feelgoodz are taking responsibility in creating a product that doesn’t sit in a landfill for years on end.

    Does anyone know what kind of seeds are embedded in the soles?

  7. Nice article, Great shoe. I suggest, however, that you change the title to “First Conscienciously Biodgradable Shoe,” or the “First Modern Biodegradable Shoe.”

    I’m sure that all the footwear of our ancient forebears were made of completely biodegradable materials!

    What else was available?

    Best regards,


  8. That is not the world’s first biodegradable shoe, the biodegradable shoe has been sold in Asia for years. I know that for fact.

  9. Great shoes. If they will have right price will be amazing. By right price I mean low price. More money you need more ‘wast’ work you must to do.

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