Our goal: shoes without plastic, without chemical materials and without any animal materials

UMUS' ambition is to offer products with a distinctive design that respect life in all its forms.

Our goal is to offer shoes without plastic, without chemical materials and without materials of animal origin: natural shoes that respect living things.
We explain our commitments, our approach and the limits encountered.

Our commitments: the desire to offer natural shoes without plastic

Respect for life is one of the founding elements of UMUS.

At each stage of the product's life, from design to end of life, and including all intermediate stages, UMUS' commitment is not to harm living things and to limit our impact.
This commitment is my North Star as the founder of UMUS.
It guides my every action and decision.

The approach that led us to this objective of offering natural shoes without plastic

We used our common sense, our very strong commitments, and our ability to absorb and analyze information to design these first pieces.
In this sense, eco-design* has been integrated into the thinking surrounding the product.
We have not done a formal Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) at this stage.

At UMUS we don't like plastic, we'll explain why.

A study** shows that for fashion products, the steps that have the greatest environmental impact are:
-Manufacturing of raw materials
-The end of product life
-Then come far behind: the manufacturing of the products, transport and distribution, making them available at points of sale and use

Source: McKinsey Biodiversity: The next frontier in sustainable fashion

If we consider all stages of a product's life, they generate:

- Incoming flows: materials, water, oil, energy, etc.
- Outgoing flows: pollution, gaseous, liquid emissions, etc.

Taking these elements into account, the findings we made:
- The less raw materials and synthetic components a product uses during its manufacture (oil, chemicals, etc.), the less its environmental impact.
- The more natural materials a product uses, the easier its end-of-life management is

This is why we have set ourselves the goal of offering natural shoes without plastic and chemical materials.

UMUS shoes are also shoes without materials of animal origin, and no concessions have been made in relation to this commitment.

Materials to achieve the goal of natural and plastic-free shoes

Among all the materials identified, we have excluded some to remain faithful to our commitments.

Fruit imitation leather
During our research to identify natural and plastic-free materials, imitation leather from apples, grapes, corn, etc. was excluded.
These materials are partly biosourced (apples, grapes, etc.) but they are systematically supplemented with polyurethane (PU) which is a synthetic material derived from petroleum.
In addition to being non-renewable materials, these imitation leathers are also not recyclable.

Using these imitation leathers would go against our goal of offering natural, plastic-free shoes.

Recycled plastic
Certain components or materials use recycled plastic: they are found in particular in soles or fabrics.

Recycled plastic loses its properties and cannot be reused as is. New material is systematically added, in significant proportions, to manufacture these components.

To put it another way, by using recycled plastic components, we help to maintain the production of new plastic material.

The limits encountered when designing natural and plastic-free shoes

Despite an extremely strong commitment, designing and manufacturing shoes without plastic and without chemical materials today is a complicated process.
Common shoe components contain plastic or synthetic materials: soles, upper materials, reinforcements, threads, glue, laces, etc.

For these UMUS parts, we have carried out significant research work to identify materials and components that meet our specifications.
This colossal work has made it possible to identify natural alternative solutions to components and materials which usually contain either animal materials or synthetic materials.

However, for some elements we have not identified an acceptable solution in terms of strength and durability (glue, reinforcements).
In these cases, I made the decision to use these synthetic components, with the mission of replacing them too with alternative natural materials as soon as possible.

Designing and manufacturing shoes with this level of commitment must also take into account operational and commercial constraints.

My desire is for these pieces to see the light of day, so that the people who love them and wear them can show them and tell their story.

If you are touched or convinced by UMUS' approach, talk about it to those around you.

*Ecodesign is an approach that takes into account environmental impacts in the design and development of the product and integrates environmental aspects throughout its life cycle (from the raw material, to the end of life through the manufacturing, logistics, distribution and use).

ADEME - Ecodesign

** McKinsey - Biodiversity: The next frontier in sustainable fashion