Lignin, Cellulose, Rubber


Made in

Biodegradable 228 Composite 97 Plant-based 167 Regenerative 49 Cellulose 9 Charcoal 6 Cork 3 Lignin 2

Lignin, Cellulose, Rubber

Photos: Tom Mannion, Mael Henaff

Harvesting Footwear

300 Million shoes are discarded into landfill every year. Made almost exclusively with petroleum-based materials, shoe manufacturing has an unprecedented harmful impact on the natural world, extruding 313 million tons of CO2 emissions every year, it is continually extractive and exploitative.

Moving away from anthropocentrism and working towards regenerative materiality, Harvesting Footwear aims to act for and in communion with nature, by developing a viable biodegradable trainer, harnessing only plants as material resources.

Lignin and cellulose are the most abundant biopolymers on earth; present in the structural tissue of most plants; engineering these materials could ultimately play an important role in the transition towards bio-based materials. Harvesting footwear is made of a composite material consisting of lignin powder, cellulose fibre, natural rubber, charcoal pigment and cork. By controlling the density of it Raphaël Nahmias has explored a material having a great rigidity in certain areas of the trainer and more flexibility in others.

Considering also the complexities of footwear manufacturing, this project aims to simplify the current production by proposing a trainer, made in one part and with a single process: a mould.

When recycled, the trainer replenishes the plants, the soil, and the nature surrounding it. By designing with methods of reciprocity we can practice conscious consumption.

Additional information

Mixing all ingredients together and compress into a mould.

Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.


Lignin powder, cellulose fibre, natural latex rubber, charcoal powder, cork


Ireen Gebauer, Thaddeus Maloney

Physical samples

Accessible to visitors of the Future Materials Lab