This company put significant R&D into developing a better zero-waste midsole. It punched compression-molded EVA inserts from a large EVA sheet, then melted the scrap for reuse in injection-molded parts. Using this strategy with several models, the company has cut midsole waste by 21 percent, the carbon equivalent of taking 10 cars off the road for a year.
Of the leather boots in this story, La Sportiva used the lowest percentage by weight, as well as 100-percent-recycled mesh and a light, 30-percent-recycled rubber sole. It also collects any wearable shoes for resoling and spent ones for recycling. Where could it improve? The TPU shank was a small factor in Sportiva's score, but the material emits hydrofluorocarbons when made, and these gases have 1,300 times the climate impact of C02.
Early rave reviews vaulted the FC ECO into consideration for our annual Editors' Choice Green Award. "Super comfortable, no break-in time, and quick to dry," wrote an Idaho tester after a week of 23-mile days, river crossings, and steep bushwhacking. The FC ECO then wowed editors who wore it in the Rockies and Alps, earning the honor and proving that you can have it all. $160; 2 lbs. 4 oz.; sportiva.com
*This boot had a 25-35% reduction in environmental impact over business as usual.