Harmful algae create a usable foam product instead
EVA or Ethylene vinyl acetate is commonly used in shoes because it’s lightweight, has excellent shock absorption properties, and is flexible in a wide temperature range. We use it in Icebug midsoles. However, most EVA is fossil-based and difficult to recycle.
Icebug’s vision is to either be able to recycle and close the loop of foams or to use full biomass (coming from the forest or other sources). We are constantly searching for materials to reach this vision. We were really happy to find a material that reduces our dependency on fossil oil by using algae biomass as a part of the foam.
BLOOM™ foam contains algae biomass and has similar material properties to ‘normal’ Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA). It is mixed with EVA and so far, we use 10% algae in the Icebug insoles and midsoles (20% BLOOM™ masterbatch with 50% algae). Development is ongoing to raise the percentage of algae, in close cooperation with the supplier.
The algae foam is made by the company Algix, who harvests harmful algae that are polluting water sources to create a usable foam product instead. By harvesting the algae and recirculating the fresh water back it also helps to keep the nature in balance by removing harmful and toxic algae growth. The algae use carbon dioxide from the air through photosynthesis and locks it away in a solid biomass. It gives less CO2 emissions, and lowers the dependency on petroleum, a non-renewable resource.