February 5, 2020 Minima by AKU – Designed to Reduce
AKU is the Italian brand specialized in premium quality outdoor shoes with a focus on responsibility and a low impact approach to its production processes.
After Bellamont Plus, the first and only shoe in the outdoor market with an Environmental Product Declaration, now it’s time for Minima, a new project using exclusive, low impact design features.
Minima is the first and only footwear on the outdoor market to have the whole upper, lining and footbed made with 100% Zero Impact® leather.
Zero Impact® comes from Dani Sustainable Leather, the Italian tannery that for more than 20 years has worked as partner of AKU in the development of high quality full grain and nubuck leathers. As result of a demanding R&D commitment, Dani has been able to set a new and exclusive tanning process: Fresh hides are worked immediately to avoid the use of salt, the un-hairing process uses hydrogen peroxide, chromium and heavy metals are banned, and energy usage has been reduced by 5%.
But this is not all. Dani also runs a reforestation program to compensate the quantity of CO2 produced along the tanning process of Zero Impact. This is what gives the name Zero Impact to this low impact Italian leather.
Leather is the main component of Minima and therefore the main source of CO2 impact of the shoe. This is why both design and production process have been focused to reduce usage and waste. In a normal shoe manufacturing process the areas of leather with imperfection (scars, scratches, uneven surface) are discarded. In Minima’s production these parts are used for the collar and heel areas, but on the rear side of the leather, where the imperfection is not visible. What looks like a suede insert is instead the same full grain leather of the rest of the upper, but on the B side. The result: Less leather used for the same shoe and less waste that goes to landfill.
Furthermore, the midsole of Minima is made using a combination of post industrial recycled EVA and cork, made locally, not far from Aku’s headquartes. The footbed uses a combination of Zero Impact leather and coconut fiber, again a post-industrial waste recycled into a new product.
All components are completely traceable and most of them are sourced locally in Italy. Info on where the components are sourced is provided to the end user through the presentation booklet delivered with each pair of shoe. These booklets are printed on paper that is made of partially recycled paper and partly of recycled leather coming from scraps from local tanneries.
Last but not least, AKU has planned a CO2 offsetting program. Based on the knowledge gained with the calculation of carbon emissions through the Environmental Product Declaration, Aku has defined the amount of CO2 to be offset. This will be done by supporting United Nations initiatives for climate neutrality (UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).
Minima, an elegant, outdoor inspired style that evokes the traditional mountain footwear upper construction, is presented at ISPO Munich for the FW2020 collection as the ideal shoe for urban and travel adventures.
Its product presentation set is composed of a recycled carton shoe box, a product profile booklet printed on recycled components of leather and cellulose and a shop window display assembled with a handmade wood frame.
Minima is a project that sets a new standard in responsible footwear design and production.
About DANI Sustainable Leather
For years, the Italian tannery Dani has chosen to be a sustainable company, recognizing in its social-environmental responsibility the principles that guide its business operations, aimed at developing the company, those who work for it and protecting future generations. The ethical and strategic value of social-environmental responsibility is declared at Dani through research projects, innovation, inclusion and redistribution. This is summarized annually in the company’s Sustainability Report, a global report that manifests the company’s efforts to make all its operations sustainable: both environmental, social and economic.