Toronto company makes shoes that turn into apple trees

A Toronto designer created a pair of shoes that eventually turned into an apple tree after spending seven years in the fashion industry and researching more sustainable choices.

Toronto resident Luc Houle, 33, created Johnny: The Shoe That Grows Into A Tree and launched a Kickstarter to make his product.

The shoes look like normal canvas sneakers, but they are made with biodegradable materials and have an apple seed hidden in the sole. They are soft, light and water resistant.

Johnny Footwear shoes are available in black and white.

The idea came to Houle while he was working in the fast fashion industry, which pumps out a lot of cheap clothes that end up in landfills.

The soles of shoes are usually plastic, which takes hundreds of years to biodegrade.

“The plastic stays around 1,000 years after we throw it away,” Houle told blogTO. “I kind of wanted to do something to fix this problem.”

So after about three years of developing the technology and creating a prototype, he came up with Johnny, named after Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) who introduced apple trees to Ontario and many states in the northern United States to the United States. 1800s.

johnny shoes

The apple seed is released during the biodegradation of the shoe.

Shoes don’t biodegrade on your feet and should last as long as a typical shoe, but when worn they can be buried. A compound in the sole remains dormant until the shoes are planted underground.

Once activated, they attract natural microbes to break down the entire outsole in three years. Halfway through, an apple seed coated with a natural fertilizer is released and begins to take root.

The idea of ​​putting a seed in the sole came to Houle after creating a compound that will biodegrade underground.

“If you’re going to stick it in the ground, why not put a tree seat in it,” he says.

johnny shoes

The shoes must be planted for the seed to activate.

Houle says he got help from a Canadian friend in China who works with ethical factories there to make the shoes. The sourced materials are also fair trade.

Despite all this, the shoes are not expensive. For $ 109, Kickstarter supporters will receive a pair of shoes, if the campaign is successful, by August 2022. It was important for Houle to make the shoes accessible to a wide range of people.

“A lot of people just can’t afford high quality shoes.”

johnny shoes

The shoes look like normal sneakers.

This is not Houle’s first Kickstarter, he launched a successful custom shoe campaign in 2016. But this time he wanted to do something for the environment.

“The good thing about this project is that because it’s a biodegradable sneaker that grows in a tree, we can kind of help number one, offset the carbon footprint of people, but we also help eliminate plastics. And the more people we can reach with, the more impact we can have. “


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