Recent industrial design graduate Shahar Asor is knitting biodegradable children’s shoes out of a sustainable composite material. The shoes are meant to disassemble and disintegrate completely in the wash after a designated time frame to encourage greener fashion choices and limit excessive consumer consumption. Just as we purchase food according to its shelf life, the “Best Before” research project contemplates, “What if we could buy clothes the same way that we buy milk?”

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kid wearing white knitted shoes

“There’s no doubt fashion can have a positive impact on us, it can be our voice and give us the confidence we need, but sometimes we buy new clothes simply because we objectively need to — as in the case of maternity or children’s clothes,” Asor told Inhabitat. “Some of us donate and others recycle but the truth is most of our unclaimed garments found themselves in landfills. So, if a garment is being used for a limited period of time why does it stay on earth for so long? Why not design it with its end of use moment in mind?”

Related: Seaweed Girl explores seaweed as an eco-textile for sustainable fashion

one white knitted shoe on white background
pair of white knitted shoes on white backgroun

Best Before offers a way to accommodate the contradiction between clothes made of long-lasting fabric (some taking between 20 and 200 years to break down, as is the case with synthetic fibers) and the need to change our wardrobe due to lifestyle changes, health or growth spurts.

person lacing white sneakers
swatches of white knit fabrics on a white background

By essentially shifting the concept of an expiration date to the fashion industry, Best Before is sending us on the right track toward sustainable fashion. The shoe fabric is composed of a knit-based composite material designed to dissolve in the washing machine after a certain amount of time. Each shoe is made from one piece of fabric to include a flexible upper portion and a strong sole.

person knitting fabric swatch
two white sneakers on white background

Designed in collaboration with Oded Shoseyov, a professor from the Agriculture, Food and Environment Department at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the fabric materials leave no harmful pollutants in the environment after dissembling. This way, buyers can take into account their child’s growth without releasing more unsustainable products into the world and without worrying about what to do with all of those outgrown shoes.

+ Shahar Asor

Photography by Noi Einav & Leean Lani via Shahar Asor