Hemp is making a major comeback thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. Now that growing the fiber is legalized, we can expect to see lots more hemp products made with the versatile plant, and paddling industry leader Astral may just be leading the charge when it comes to water-forward footwear. The Asheville, N.C., based brand recently unveiled a new sustainable footwear collection made from a combination of hemp and recycled polyester.
Established in 2002, Astral has grown to specialize in high performance footwear alongside its industry-leading safety gear and PFDs for paddlers. Independently owned and operated with a commitment to making products of the highest performance and style for use in nature, Astral is based in the year-round paddling capital of Asheville with satellite offices in Bend, Oregon, and Saigon, Vietnam.
The Spring ’19 collection offers an eco-alternative to the lifestyle footwear market, offering a more sustainable solution to footwear. Astral introduces the Hemp Baker, Hemp Loyak and Hemp Maria to their growing collection of #NatureFirst performance casual shoes.
A combination of hemp and recycled polyester, Astral’s expanded eco-conscious collection is a durable and ethical alternative to current lifestyle shoes on the market.
It’s no surprise that hemp canvas is a radically practical fiber. Known for its extreme durability, hemp was first used in ropes and sails during exploratory sea crossing missions centuries ago. It is naturally antimicrobial, has better abrasion resistance than cotton and boasts excellent UV resistance, standing tough against sun exposure and the elements.
“Our new hemp shoes are some of the most sustainable shoes you can find,” says Founder and CEO of Astral, Philip Curry. “Hemp is good for the earth. It’s petroleum-free, which means it only needs water, soil and sun to grow. Our hemp is easily grown without pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. Above all, hemp takes 21% less water to grow than cotton, leaving that water to run clearly in our rivers. It was an obvious choice for designing the ultimate outdoor and lifestyle footwear hybrid.”
Astral knows that life is full of adventure, but also has a casual side. That’s why the Hemp Baker, Loyak and Maria mix style, performance and sustainability to create comfortable everyday shoes. Each style has a durable, naturally odor-resistant Hemp Canvas upper stitched to a flexible and grippy G®Rubber outsole. The Hemp Baker ($90) is a unisex, easy-wearing, everyday slip-on, while the Hemp Loyak ($100) is an eco-remix on Astral’s best-selling, low-profile and super flexible original. The women’s specific, Hemp Maria ($90) flaunts intricate embroidery on hemp uppers, promising nothing but comfort and good vibes.
–Lead image by Austin Jackson.