Orba wins international and national awards for its biodegradable sneakers

Launched just six months ago, the Orba Ghost sneaker has achieved national and international success.

Just six months after launching its world’s first sneaker designed to biodegrade, Kiwi eco-shoe start-up Orba has won two major awards.

Achieving national and international acclaim for its Ghost sneaker, the footwear company with its Waikanae-based head office staff won the sustainability category at the Global Footwear Awards and the Sustainable Product Design category at the Design Institute of NZ Best Design Awards, with judges commenting on the start-up’s “remarkable” and “remarkable” work.

The Global Footwear Awards honor the world’s most exceptional footwear designs, with the Sustainability category evaluating creativity, design and innovation.

Orba won the sustainability category at the Global Footwear Awards and the Sustainable Product Design category at the Design Institute of NZ Best Design Awards.
Orba won the sustainability category at the Global Footwear Awards and the Sustainable Product Design category at the Design Institute of NZ Best Design Awards.

It is judged by industry professionals from brands and publications such as Vogue, Adidas, Vera Wang, Hugo Boss, Prada, GQ and the MIT Institute of Design.

The Best Design Awards are an annual showcase of Kiwi excellence in graphic, spatial, product, digital and motion design, judged by respected design professionals.

Orba Co-Founder and Chief Sustainability Officer, Gillian Boucher, said two sustainability wins underpin their unique, globally unique approach.

“We launched our Orba Ghost just six months ago, so getting national and global recognition like this is incredibly exciting and validates our approach to design and durability, especially given the caliber of the competition is so high.”

The groundbreaking product is the brainchild of Kāpiti man Greg Howard, who launched the company during the 2020 lockdown after years of planning and research to create a shoe company that would fight to reduce the amount of pollution caused by 20 billion shoes going to landfill each year. .

The result is a 94% plant-based, custom-fit, sustainable shoe with an organic rubber sole made of natural rubber, rice husk ash, coconut oil and cork insoles. , coconut and natural rubber ball, launched last year.

The formulation that is not only a world first, but is designed to eliminate the problem of synthetic footwear, which can take up to 1000 years to break down and release contaminants in the process.

Comments from the judges of the Global Footwear Awards highlighted Orba’s originality, interesting design and application and thanked them for presenting their “outstanding work”.

They particularly liked the end-to-end approach where Orba wearers can feel good knowing their shoes are going back to nature – with Orba taking full responsibility for their end of life.

Comments from the Best Design Awards judges said that compelling sustainable credentials combined with sleek design impressed them with “the thoroughness and effort put into achieving the goal of a first mass-produced biodegradable shoe”.

Gillian Boucher said their approach goes beyond just thinking about what materials to use and the impact producing those materials can have.

“Orba’s materials were chosen with consideration for the impacts of pesticides and irrigation that agriculture can have on local communities.

“We chose some of the world’s most renewable, low carbon footprint plant-based materials.

“These have very low environmental impacts during agriculture and cultivation, and they don’t degrade our soils.”

Available only in the New Zealand market, production is carried out in Indonesia, which has one of the largest shoe manufacturing industries in the world.

Part of the sustainable ethic has included creating social development initiatives and funding training programs to help improve efficiency and promote sustainable practices for weavers and partners in Indonesia.

Awards:

-Winner New Zealand BEST Design Awards 2021 – Sustainable Product Design

-Winner of the Global Footwear Awards 2022 – Sustainability

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