Biomimetic design meets advanced biomaterials. Disruptive footwear collaboration of VivoBarefoot and Balena. "

Biomimetic design meets advanced biomaterials. Disruptive footwear collaboration of VivoBarefoot and Balena.

— 15.01.2024

In 2019, Asher Clark, co-founder, and Chief Design Officer of Vivobarefoot, unveiled the brand's dedication to regenerative footwear during a presentation at Biofabricate. Little did he know that this revelation would spark the enthusiasm of David Roubach, a sustainability entrepreneur in the audience, inspiring the establishment of Balena.

Fast forward four years, Vivobarefoot and Balena have announced a groundbreaking partnership to address the environmental impact of the footwear industry, blending technology and material science inspired by nature - Vivobiome. 

Balena's Material Science Revolution

The global challenge of managing end-of-life plastics demands practical solutions across industries, particularly in the footwear sector, where a staggering 24 billion pairs of shoes are added annually. Complicating matters, 90% of the footwear in the market is crafted from multiple materials, some of which are non-recyclable (e.g., EVA, natural rubber). Limited in their recyclability, these products often meet their end of life in landfills or incineration, resulting in adverse environmental effects and contamination.

Balena stands at the forefront of tackling this challenge by pioneering compostable, biobased, recyclable thermoplastic materials with advanced performance properties. Our materials extend beyond footwear to encompass scaled durable goods production, envisioning a circular model for consumer industries.



BioCirflex®3D: game-changer material in 3-d printed compostable footwear

Balena's BioCirFlex®3D, built upon the flagship BioCir®flex material technology, marks a groundbreaking advancement in material science, particularly for applications like 3D-printed footwear. Our exclusive material showcases exceptional performance, durability, and flexibility, all while being fully compostable and recyclable. Boasting over 50% bio-based content, BioCirFlex®3D significantly diminishes reliance on fossil fuel-based materials, serving as a sustainable alternative to options like TPU. Through a biological recycling mechanism, products crafted from BioCirFlex®3D undergo decomposition and biodegradation, completing a fully circular life cycle within controlled industrial compost environments.

Balena's innovative approach with BioCirFlex®3D marks a significant stride towards sustainable and environmentally responsible 3D printing.


VivoBiome: A Visionary Fusion of Design and Circularity 

VivoBarefoot and Balena proudly announce the next step in the VivoBiome circular journey Vivobiome- to reimagine how regenerative footwear is designed and made. 

VivoBiome's digital design system employs biomimetic design principles, computational code, and additive manufacturing methods, utilizing Balena's biobased and biodegradable BioCirFlex®3D material. This unique combination produces the world's first bespoke and circular footwear. The collaboration between Vivobiome and Balena represents an innovative approach that unveils a future of on-demand biodegradable footwear, enabling individuals to reconnect with nature, move naturally, and seamlessly return their footwear to nature when no longer needed—leaving behind no waste or negative environmental impact.

Custom-made, precisely measured, locally produced, and designed for easy remanufacturing, this represents a bold step toward sustainable and circular footwear practices.

This Dynamic partnership between Vivobarefoot and Balena not only redefines the possibilities of sustainable footwear but also signifies a monumental stride towards a future where innovation and circularity seamlessly coexist in the fashion industry.

Learn more about this collaboration here

Get in contact with us to learn more about our materials here:

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