Excess algae in freshwater is no small problem: left unattended, they can threaten both the local marine life and the available supply of potable water. As such, many companies have experimented on ways to harvest all that excess algae and turn them into different types of consumer products. A pair of sneakers called the Vivobarefoot x Bloom Ultra III is one of the more interesting ones we’ve found.
A modified version of Vivobarefoot’s popular amphibious silhouette, the shoes ditch the traditional EVA foam in favor of Bloom Foam, which is made from harvested algae. No, it’s really algae, albeit with all its moisture sucked out before being combined with different polymers to create the foam-like material. They claim the material exhibits nearly the exact same characteristics as EVA, so it should perform just as well for everyday footwear function.
The Vivobarefoot x Bloom Ultra III has an upper cut entirely in the lightweight algae-based foam. Each pair supposedly uses enough algae to recycle 57 gallons of filtered water back into natural habitats while saving 40 party balloons’ worth of carbon dioxide. Naturally, we have no idea how to verify that, but the shoe upper uses up a lot of material, so we guess we’ll take that at face value.
As with the original Ultra III, the shoe’s upper is perforated with hexagonal holes all over its surface, a design that, according to the outfit, provides excellent strength while being lightweight. It also lets your feet breathe naturally, with no need for any additional ventilation. Perhaps the most important aspect of that upper design, however, is it allows the shoes to drain water easily, making it ideal for use at the beach, in the rain, and any place where bodies of water are likely to be present. That’s right, you can cross rivers with your feet duly protected without having to drain your shoes afterwards, making it quite the unique footwear for outdoor adventure.
The Vivobarefoot x Bloom Ultra III’s upper is fused to a sticky rubber outsole that claims to offer a grip comparable to climbing shoes. Like the upper, it comes with a hex grip pattern on the underside, which allows it to deftly push water and moisture out of the way, leaving the shoes suitable to walking and running on any surface. Seriously, they claim you can wear this even on wet rocks without slipping.
Because Bloom Foam has the same characteristics as EVA, the shoes are exceptionally soft, so much so that you can roll it into a ball for easily squeezing into your luggage. It comes in just one color, though: algae green, which, we guess, is fitting. The colorway also makes sure you can easily identify it in a mass of different Ultra IIIs, since neither the men’s nor women’s versions of the silhouette come in a similar hue.
A perfect shoe for your summer adventures, the Vivobarefoot x Bloom Ultra III is scheduled to start shipping this month, priced at $75.