WODEN is inspired by nature. Based on conscious attitudes about choice of materials and production, WODEN does everything possible to take good care of nature as we know it. For you, this means that synthetic materials are widely avoided in favor of genuine leather, suede, eco-friendly cork soles inside the shoe and outsoles crafted from a minimum of 10% recycled rubber. 

WODEN’s Nordic origin, Scandinavia, is very close to our hearts. In this context, WODEN innovatively incorporates new and Nordic material choices and technologies into its footwear production, while working as sustainably as possible.

Fish leather

The fish leather that is used on all WODEN and WODEN KIDS sneakers comes from Iceland. Fish leather, primarily from salmon skin, was originally a waste product from the Nordic fishing industry where only 1% of the skin is actually used, and the rest is destroyed. With our Scandinavian roots and respect for the world we live in, we decided to find out how WODEN could utilize this waste material actively in our collections.

In Iceland, where a good deal of this waste material is found, the fish leather is treated and tanned using gentle and eco-friendly methods with the help of Iceland’s own natural superpowers – its hot springs. This tanning process produces 0% carbon emissions. 

Fish leather is also extremely wear-resistant and durable. The cross-fiber structure of fish leather makes it up to ten times stronger than ordinary calfskin, because calfskin fibers only go in one direction. However, fish leather has its limitations due to the size of the fish, which average between 8 and 12 inches long and between 3 and 5 inches at the widest point.

WODEN uses salmon leather, with its distinctive fish-scale pattern, as DNA on virtually all sneakers and boots across all collections. When fish leather is used on an entire shoe as the outer material, the three-dimensional structure appears to best effect. Because of the size of the leather, any shoe in pure fish leather will be unique. After all, every fish, like every human, is unique.

FIFTY

As a new and innovative sustainable feature WODEN has implemented fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles as backing in all styles across the entire collection from AW20. We call it FIFTY. When we use the term FIFTY it means, that the fabric used as backing and on the upper part of the sneaker consists of a minimum of 50% recycled polyester from PET bottles.

Some of our sneakers across the collection are crafted with FIFTY material on the upper part as well, which you can notice by the style name. Recycled plastic is a part of our sustainable approach towards the production of sneakers and ensuring a greener footprint.

From spring/summer 2021 FIFTY will also be used as backing in all WODEN KIDS sneakers.

Cork

The sustainability of cork is based on biology, and it is recognized by the WWF, Rainforest Alliance and other environmental organizations as a sustainable material.

The bark of the cork tree is carefully scraped off without felling the tree, enabling the tree to produce new bark. A tree can be scraped again after nine years. This process can be carried out for up to 200 years, which means that a cork tree can be scraped for bark up to 22 times in its lifetime.

Many wine growers claim that cork trees are under threat, but that is only partially true. It is cheaper to produce wine bottles with screw-tops rather than natural corks. And paradoxically, it is this reduced production of wine corks that is making the cork forests superfluous – which is the one factor that presents the greatest threat to the world’s cork forests.

All insoles in WODEN and WODEN KIDS shoes consist of cork. Cork is a natural and sustainable material that is carefully scraped from the cork tree so that the tree remains standing and can form new bark. Cork is instrumental in ensuring a healthy environment in the shoe as well as good comfort. The cork soles are shock-absorbing, providing a comfortable and flexible shoe that fits the urban lifestyle.

Recycled rubber

As a sustainable initiative, all outsoles on WODEN and WODEN KIDS sneakers are made from at least 10% recycled rubber. It has taken us many years to develop the right combination of conventional rubber blended with natural rubber and at least 10% recycled rubber from surplus production that still meets our strict requirements for quality and durability, because our sneakers are meticulously designed for the urban lifestyle.

We work continuously to increase the share of recycled rubber even more, but it must never compromise the quality of our sneakers.

The recycled rubber is the colorful spots you see in the outsole.