Huntsman develops bio-based PU for KEEN shoe soles
The KEEN F2F shoe features a bespoke soling solution.
Chemical products specialist Huntsman has helped the KEEN footwear company to develop a range of sneakers with plant-based soles. The ‘Field to Foot’ (F2F) shoes were created by KEEN’s Advanced Concepts Team, utilising a specially-developed bio-based polyurethane system from Huntsman that contains a by-product sourced from agricultural processing.
Containing bio content ranging from 35 to 51 per cent, the polyurethane system is said to have a lower carbon footprint than petroleum-based alternatives that are readily available and which are commonly used in footwear production. Developed at Huntsman’s footwear centre in Belgium, the bespoke soling solution was created especially for KEEN. The direct moulded-on system reportedly offers comparable performance to conventional systems for resilience, rebound, hydrolysis, comfort and durability, and is fully aligned with the brand’s commitment to incorporating clean, environmentally-focused and high-performance technologies into its range of footwear.
Discussions between Huntsman and KEEN began in late 2020, with development work on the F2F project starting early last year. While collaborating throughout the pandemic, KEEN and Huntsman experts from across their global operations worked together remotely, with some face-to-face meetings towards the end of the project. As the soles went into production, Huntsman’s technical service team travelled to KEEN’s manufacturing plant in Thailand in order to provide the shoemaker with on-site support.
F2F sneakers were initially made available as a limited edition in September 2021 and sold out quickly. KEEN will launch the product broadly on August 1st 2022 and is expecting significant demand for the programme. The two companies are collaborating on several additional sustainability-based projects as part of their shared commitment to reducing the impacts of climate change.
This article was originally published on page 40 of the February 2022 issue of SATRA Bulletin.