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Sustainable development is a perpetual state of mind at Sylven New York, always incorporated in our ongoing footwear production processes. As we continue to learn about the ever-changing landscape of sustainable materialization with new developments constantly on the horizon, we plan to remain agile and open to the possibilities. We are firmly committed to creating the most sustainable luxury footwear possible, and we can't wait to show you what else we have in store!


Apple Leather is a bio-based leather alternative made using organic apple waste originating in Tyrol, a town nestled at the base of the Italian Alps. Tyrol is the largest supplier of organic apples in Europe and every year is faced with a significant amount of waste. The cores and skins of the apple waste are taken and transformed into a pulp, which is then bound to a fabric for structure. The result is a ‘leather’ imitative material that structurally holds many of the same properties as a traditional animal leather while remaining completely animal-free.


The term ‘Nappa’ typically refers to a high grade, soft, full-grain leather, but our Vegan Nappa is made from 100% recycled fibers. While standard vegan leathers are made using virgin plastics and harmful chemical processes, our Vegan Nappa is made without any virgin plastics and using a water-based process. Contrary to its name, this water-based process still uses 95% less water than the standard chemical process. Overall energy consumption is also reduced in this process by roughly 55%.


One of the oldest and most intricate processes for treating leather, vegetable tanning uses organic substances derived from tree bark and plants to prepare the leather to be dyed and used commercially. By using a plant-based process, the leather remains fully biodegradable. The properties of leather make for an extremely long-lasting product that often improves with age. Vegetable tanned leathers are known for their earthy hues and can darken or patina over time.


Our Italian sole factory makes their standard rubber soles by cutting multiple pieces from large sheets of rubber. This creates a large amount of "off-cut" waste, resulting from the irregular shape of each sole. This waste is then melted down and reused to create the regenerated rubber soles you see here. Rubber soles also allow for excellent traction and have natural non-slip properties.


Linings aren't always seen as the most exciting component of the shoe, but they are one of the most important! As the first point of contact with the skin, the material must be breathable, able to wick away moisture, and should be soft to the touch. While leather naturally is a great candidate for the properties needed for linings, the trick for finding a non-virgin plastic vegan option proved difficult until we sourced this groundbreaking material. Made from natural, renewable resources, polyols, or plant-based molecules, are taken from corn, grain, and seeds to comprise a non-petroleum and performance based leather alternative.


Ethically handcrafted by fair trade artisans in Kenya, our custom metal hardware is made with the same time and attention to detail as jewelry, and we treat it as such. The metals used are native to Kenya, and each piece is forged entirely by hand. In addition to the direct support of our artisan communities, we will also be donating a portion of proceeds from all styles incorporating our custom hardware to The Better Scholarship, our new initiative to help support education and community development within low-income regions of Kenya