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Mushrooms have been a culinary staple for thousands of years. Not only are they good in dishes, mushrooms are also stepping up to replace animal-based leather products. Munich-based sneaker brand, nat-2, has teamed up with Zvnder, a company that makes mushroom leather-based accessories, to create sneakers made with plant-based mushroom leather and recycled plastic water bottles.

The sustainable sneakers have an exterior made of mushroom leather, eco-cotton terrycloth, microfiber suede made from recycled plastic bottles, natural cork (the insoles), and natural rubber (the outsoles). 

“The leather-like material is created from the Trama of the tinder sponge. Fomes Fomentarius a.k.a ‘tinder sponge’ is a parasite growing on dead or weak birches and beeches,” the creators shared on the nat-2 website

According to Designboom, the manufacturers harvest the tinder sponge by hand, then test it for a year, hand-working it further in a textile-producing process that takes two years total. Not only are the shoes organic, vegan, and chemical-free, they also have antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties.


Conventional leather is not only cruel, as it is literally the product of slaughtered animals, but the tanning process is also very harmful to the environment. Given this, many companies are creating innovative alternatives for leather. For instance, Mycoworks is also making a leather from mushrooms, and Green Banana Paper, a startup from Kosrae in Micronesia, has created a cruelty-free leather made of banana fiber. The leftover waste from wine is yet another alternative to animal-based leather. If that wasn’t enough, American startup company Modern Meadow has successfully created lab-grown leather, proving that the future of fashion is cruelty-free!

While there is no listed price for the nat-2 mushroom-leather sneakers, we hope the innovative shoe line helps set a standard for the fashion industry. For more information on the nat2 mushroom-sneakers, click here.

Image Source: nat-2

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