When you think of materials suitable for making shoes, blood probably doesn’t come to mind. If you think it’s not possible though, you’d be wrong. To prove it, nat-2 designer Sebastian Thies and Eindhoven-based designer Shahar Livne have teamed up to create sustainable sneakers made from real blood.
Your first question is likely, “Where does one source blood from to make shoes?” The answer is both weirdly easy and sustainable, as the blood comes from slaughterhouses. This blood would normally wash right back into sewers and waterways.
The project, called the Experimental Line, came about after Livne previously create a bio-material that resembled leather from bones and fat sourced through meat-industry waste piles at slaughterhouses in the Netherlands. He then used the blood as a colorizer and plasticizer.
Bringing in some materials previously developed for other shoes in the nat-2 lineup, Thies contributed cork insoles, which are sustainably harvested without cutting down trees. Real rubber outsoles leave behind a small environmental footprint, too. Even the glue is water-based. As a sixth-generation footwear professional, Thies has contributed to other shoe designs sourcing unique, organic, natural or vegan materials like milk, fish leather, natural felt, recycled leather and many vegan luxury alternative materials such as stone, wood, corn, cork, glass, fungus, coffee, grass, flowers and natural rubber.
The sneakers are sold in 100 percent recycled paper packaging and come with a limited-edition poster, which is silkscreen printed with unique, real-blood pigment showing the sneaker silhouette, by Shahar Livne, and signed by both designers.
Although the duo set a goal of creating a sneaker focused on sustainability, they also hope to highlight the lack of sustainability in animal-based industries while finding ways to improve those practices. True to the world of art, nat-2 and Livne are challenging the consumer to consider the dichotomy of beauty and repulsion while also bringing attention to the disrespectful treatment of both animals and the environment.
While these blood sneakers are both a statement for the environment and against animal cruelty and irresponsible business practices, they are wearable art sure to initiate conversation.
Images via nat-2