Valentino launches 'eco' trainers for spring summer 2022

Italian luxury house steps out with the launch of two environmentally conscious trainers

A model at the Valentino spring/summer 2022 show during Paris Fashion Week in October 2021. Reuters
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Italian luxury house Valentino has just launched two new, eco-conscious trainers for spring/summer 2022.

Unveiled during fashion week in October, the new shoes are the first from its “Open for a Change” project, and have been made using bio-based materials.

Reworking two existing Valentino trainers – the Open and the Rockstud Untitled – these new versions have replaced traditional leather with a newly developed bio-viscose and polyurethane made from corn-based polyols, utilising new technology.

Made in a range of colours, the new trainers incorporate the bio-leather as part of the uppers, while the Open model also has part of it on the side band. Meanwhile, the shoelaces for both are made entirely from recycled polyester, while the studs covering the Rockstud are made from recycled nylon.

As one of the major fashion houses embracing new plant-based alternatives, this marks an important shift. Leather, for example, has traditionally been viewed as being a luxury material, and prized for being long-lasting, versatile and soft against the skin.

While plant-based alternatives to leather have been on the market for decades, since the launch of the rubber-based Naugahyde in 1920, none have previously met the rigorous standards of the high-end luxury market.

That may soon change. The new corn-based material uses the dextrose in corn waste to create an entirely new material that offers a new level of quality.

To bolster the environmentally-friendly credentials of both trainers, the packaging has also been rethought. The shoe bag is now made from 100 per cent recycled cotton while the box is made using recycled paper, originally sourced from sustainably managed forests.

Valentino describes the new trainers as marking a “desire to change gears while sticking to the brand’s artisanal tradition,” and that the pair offers a conscious approach that will act "as a compass in Valentino’s transformative journey, not just as a maison but also as a community."

Updated: January 20, 2022, 11:10 AM