Helping BLUMAKA Create Eco-Soles for Sanuk’s SustainaSole™

For 50 years, Huntsman has been “Enriching lives through innovation,” using science and ingenuity to create products that enable more sustainable and comfortable lives for millions of people worldwide. A project in the footwear industry demonstrates that commitment – delivering a first for the sector and proving that comfort and performance in shoe manufacturing does not have to come at the expense of the environment.

Huntsman has been working in close cooperation with BLUMAKA – an innovative supplier to the footwear industry – to develop an eco-friendly soling technology that has been incorporated into a line of sustainable shoes produced by Sanuk®, part of Deckers Brands.

Person showing bottom of shoe

Used in Sanuk®’s SustainaSole™ collection, BLUMAKA’s innovative soling technology, which includes a Huntsman IROGRAN® thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and a SUPRASEC® polyurethane (PU) system, delivers all the comfort and performance properties expected of a standard shoe sole, with 75 percent recycled foam content by volume and 35 percent recycled content by weight.

Sanuk® is a global lifestyle / surf brand. On a mission to clean up the planet, one shoe at a time, SustainaSole™ is Sanuk®’s most sustainable shoe collection ever. Reflecting the tag line, “Rubbish, reincarnated,” SustainaSole™ shoes mix recycled and non-recycled materials together to create an eco-minded footwear range that delivers comfort and durability.

To create the soles for Sanuk®’s SustainaSole™ range, BLUMAKA grinds waste foam into granulated particles, and mixes them with Huntsman’s SUPRASEC® polyurethane system to create a midsole. The midsole is then wrapped with a special IROGRAN® TPU film from Huntsman, which is incredibly versatile and ensures the finished product is fashionable and stylish, but also functional and high-performing.

One grey slip on shoe

BLUMAKA knew that finding the right TPU film was critical to the success of the project, so it approached Huntsman for help. After evaluating several options, the team opted to use a couple of different grades of IROGRAN® TPU products – one for the external skin of the sole; one for the outsole; and one as a hotmelt to bond with the upper. As well as providing the performance features required, BLUMAKA’s technology greatly improves production efficiencies and significantly reduces tolling costs, two major manufacturing benefits intrinsically linked with the use of polyurethane materials.

Jeffery Zhang, Marketing Manager Elastomers at Huntsman, said: “BLUMAKA’s soling technology has game-changing possibilities for the footwear industry – enabling the creation of comfortable, stylish eco-friendly soles. Working with the team at BLUMAKA was an incredibly rewarding experience. The company is very well respected and the vision and determination of their development team made the project with Sanuk® a real success. It is always fantastic to see a technology evolve from start-up to launch, and we are very proud that our PU and TPU materials are being used at the heart of BLUMAKA’s soling system, within the new SustainaSole™ range.”

Stuart Jenkins, Founder of BLUMAKA, said: “Worldwide, consumers have come to expect the cushioned comfort that can, typically, only be achieved by using materials that are not easily recyclable. Our technology changes this, giving footwear manufacturers a more sustainable soling solution without compromising comfort or performance. Sanuk® is the first company to employ our soling technology and we are delighted with the end result, which we believe will help set a new standard for environmentally-friendly shoe soles.”

Sanuk® is part of Deckers Brands, which also owns iconic lifestyle footwear businesses, including UGG®, Teva® and HOKA ONE ONE®.