Material Technology

PROGRESSIVE LEATHER ALTERNATIVES

Bourgeois Boheme is a vegan company and we don’t use any leather or animal-derived materials in the production of our shoes.

People often ask us why leather – as a natural material – is not a better choice than the synthetic vegan alternatives we use. We say that the leather used for fashion unfortunately is not very natural at all (and far from always a by-product from the food industry). Toxic chemicals such as zinc, lead, dyes, cyanide and formaldehyde are used to treat it, which makes it decompose very slowly, producing a greater quantity of refuse which has an obvious negative environmental impact. In addition, tanneries consume a lot of energy and are very polluting; and the carcinogenic chemicals used negatively affect the health of workers, too.

At BB we don’t see synthetic as a dirty word – quite the opposite:synthetic materials are the future and better alternatives to the toxic leathers and PVC’s frequently used to date.
 

WHAT MATERIALS DO WE USE?

To us, a good vegan shoe should be about more than just excluding leather – style, quality, durability and eco-friendliness are equally important factors in the making of a BB shoe. Therefore, we continuously seek out for new material innovations to ensure we stay on top of the environmental game.

Whereas the leather-imitation shoes you find on the high street are often made with PVC (a plastic which contains chloride and isn’t biodegradable), we use a high-quality, Italian-made cotton-backed microfibre PU (polyurethane) called Mycro©. In addition to Mycro©, our hunt for the most progressive new materials has led us to Italian cotton weaved with paper, cork, recycled rubber and plant-based polymers (including grains and seeds from food-free crops), all of which have been incorporated into different parts of the shoes.

Below is a little introduction to the most prominent materials we are currently using for our shoes. If you have any questions that we haven’t answered, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.
 

Cotton-backed Microfibre PU (Polyurethane)

We use Mycro© PU instead of PVC. The Mycro© is a state-of-the-art microfiber with a structure very similar to that of natural leather and suede. Its softness, lightness, breathability, water and stain resistance provide high performance, comfort and very credible leather-looking shoes! The Mycro© holds the EU Ecolabel and the producers REACH and ISO9001 compliant, and we use it for our uppers.

  


Bio-Polyoils

Plant-based polymers are derived from natural renewable sources - grains and seeds derived from food-free cereal crops rather than petrochemical origin. At manufacturing stage, these cutting-edge fibres keep CO2 emissions at zero level. This material is breathable and absorbable and perfect to use for the linings of all our shoes.


Piñatex™

We are thrilled to introduce a range of styles made with the exciting new vegan leather alternative Piñatex™ - a natural and sustainable non-woven textile made from pineapple leaves fibres. These fibres are the by-product of the pineapple harvest and therefore no extra land, water, fertilizers or pesticides are required to produce the material. Piñatex™ resembles a textured leather and is soft but strong, light and breathable. 


Cork

Cork is a natural, renewable, and sustainable material harvested from the Quercus suber, or cork oak, tree. Cork gives our shoes just the right amount of style, flexibility, and strength. 


EcoStone

Ecostone is a new addition to BB’s material palette. A super-thin natural slate stone overlaid on a cotton backing, this material adds elegance without compromise of eco-friendliness or durability. 

 

“From seeds to cork to recycled rubber, we continuously seek out for new material innovations to ensure we stay on top of the environmental game.”Alicia Lai, Founder