Let Your Feet Breath this Summer in the Sockwa X8

The sun is out and it’s time to enjoy all the outdoor activities you’ve been waiting for. Whether you’re planning on backpacking through the Rockies, doing yoga in the park, or hitting the beach, the Sockwa X8 is one shoe you can wear all summer long.

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The X8 is both durable and stylish, giving the wearer a high-end look, and superior abrasion resistance. These lightweight shoes aren’t nicknamed “socks with attitude” for nothing – they are designed to feel as though you’re wearing socks while still being able to navigate tricky terrain. The outsole provides an extreme barefoot-feel with great traction.

Sockwa X8 is constructed with an Ariaprene foam layer that is both breathable and anti-odor. This Ariaprene layer, along with the moisture wicking lining help keep your feet cool and dry, even on the hot summer sand.  These materials are also washable. So after a long day in the sun, just rinse out the shoes, roll them up and stick them in your bag for your next outing.

Sockwa is committed to innovative design and sustainable manufacturing. By using recyclable and toxic-free materials, like Ariaprene, they have created a shoe that is good for both you and the environment.  The X8 was even recognized as the one of 2014’s “Best Vegan Health and Fitness Products” by Vegan Health & Fitness magazine.

Make your summer a little greener by choosing products like the Sockwa X8 and check out our online gallery to see more products made with Ariaprene.

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Hitting The Hiking Trails in Comfort and Style with Ariaprene

Photo By Mike - https://www.flickr.com/photos/dierken/4936927360/in/photolist-8wd3sp-8wg3Z7-8wd3bt-8wd35H-8wg3vf-8wd2Gg-8wd2B6-8wd2g4-8wd2av-7smnJq-ayLc1r-b6cbtF-bmvWHm-g6hs2H-fHCemS-b6ccWH-99T8qw-d6s51f-9ijfgz-dYR8bT-b6cbNR-fGdEjb-3KDqCS-eiTkyH-js8tRd-hKBRg4-cHKcMA-4xqz2G-9WGFJ-8tnoGX-hYCBYF-8EPaNQ-hYy7rq-eiW1gR-hiRiEA-9z838p-7BuURh-7BuUJU-7BuUEd-7Br6xc-7Br6pz-7BuUmC-6cL1Gf-5bLwEz-5bQMtw-hYBjKf-4pKQwZ-awvkAp-ivSGmz-9jRWr1

Memorial Day is the un-official kickoff for summer and with the weather improving, outdoor plans are furiously being penned into calendars and outdoor stores are buzzing with people looking for the best equipment for their summer adventures. With so many options out there, finding the perfect pair of lightweight shoes for hiking, camping or trail running can be a challenge.

New Balance Minimus 10v2 TrailThe New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail shoes are a lightweight trail shoes for navigating smoothly through all types of terrain. They are designed to feel as though the walker or runner is virtually barefoot and have multi-directional traction and a flexible overlay. These features allow you to feel every contour of the trail beneath your feet as you move. These stylish shoes can be worn comfortably with or without socks and are odor resistant.

The flexible, lightweight upper portion of the shoe is made with Ariaprene. The closed cell structure of the Ariaprene foam means that it won’t get water logged if you happen to splash through a puddle. This means that at least for the upper portion, it will remain around the same weight at the end of the run as it did at the beginning.

No matter where your next adventure takes you, choosing products featuring Ariaprene ensures your time outdoors is enjoyable and good for Mother Nature. See more products featuring Ariaprene in our gallery.

Photo by: Mike

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Satisfy your inner adventurer by winning “The Hauser” Acre Weatherproof Hydration Pack – made with Ariaprene!

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Exploring the great outdoors requires the best weatherproof products. Whether you are a biker, hiker, or simply an all-around outdoor junkie the “The Hauser” Acre bag is perfect for all activities. This all purpose bag is waterproof, ensuring that your gear stays dry even in the rainy Pacific Northwest.

A perforated back panel made with Ariaprene ensures complete ventilation and moisture management while being extremely lightweight. While you are out exploring new terrain with this stylish bag, you can rest easy knowing that you have a bag that is made with non-toxic, solvent-free and hypoallergenic Ariaprene! Enjoy nature while wearing a product manufactured by businesses that care about the environment as much as you do!

Enter to win this Acre bag and start planning your next adventure!

How to enter: Post a comment on our Facebook announcement sharing where in the world you would take this bag and we’ll send one randomly chosen winner their own Acre pack. Yes, it’s that easy!

When a winner is chosen on May 2nd (5/2/14) we’ll notify the lucky recipient through a comment at the end of the post. The winner will be asked to message the Ariaprene Facebook for further instructions on how to receive their prize.

Not Endorsed By Facebook: By participating in this contest, you acknowledge that this contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook and release Facebook from any and all liability arising from or related to this contest.

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Ariaprene has you Covered for April Showers

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Ariaprene can help keep you and your valuables dry under any circumstances. The close cell foam used to make Ariaprene provides you with both a water resistant and lightweight option. Products made with Ariaprene are also hypoallergenic and toxic-free so you can be dry and safe.

Ensuring that your electronics stay dry is a major concern of most owners. Keeping this in mind, companies like Targus chose to create their laptop cases with Ariaprene, ensuring that they are not only attractive, durable and functional, but water resistant as well! Their 12” A7™ Netbook Sleeve is all of these things and affordable which makes protecting your laptop a cinch.

For those looking for adventure this time of the year it’s important to be prepared for both rain and shine. ACRE Mission Workshop Backpacks, which feature an Ariaprene constructed back, are completely waterproof. Our closed cell foam also allows for full breathability and prevents this bag from soaking up sweat or rain, making it perfect for hikes in the mountains or bike rides through town. It even has a hydration reservoir of up to 3 liters compatible with most name brands. This is an all around perfect choice for the outdoor adventurer in everyone.

Choosing items that feature Ariaprene can help equip you with waterproof and water resistant products that are lightweight, durable and above all safe.

Photo by: Audrey

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Keeping Runners Light On Their Feet

Ariaprene is helping lead the revolution in lightweight running shoes. Our green alternative to synthetic rubber is ideally suited to give shoe uppers better fit and less bulk.

It turns out your foot is a wonderfully engineered running platform.

In recent years, the running community has shifted more towards a focus on barefoot running, citing it as more natural and better for your feet. Even though it seems counter-intuitive, sports scientists are saying that the extra cushioning present in many shoe brands weakens the muscles of the foot’s arch, contributing to bad running posture and possible injury.

In response to this movement, many major athletic shoe companies, such as Nike and New Balance, have debuted lines of “lightweight footwear”. The shoes are intended to combine the protection and comfort of traditional running shoes with the flexibility and natural running stride of barefoot running.

Ariaprene is used as a major material in the production process of these shoes. It’s used to form a single molded piece in shoes such as the New Balance Minimus–the upper offering flexible comfort with minimal restricting seams in the design. The Ariaprene foam also allows for a natural range of motion, not interfering with the natural flex and stride of the foot.

Non-toxic, high performance, and so comfortable on your feet, Ariaprene will help you get more out of running.

New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail

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Why You Should Care About The Color of the Year

In early December 2013 the Pantone Company announced that Radiant Orchid would be their Color of the Year.

The Pantone company of Carlstadt, NJ is the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries.

Each year they choose one color they believe will be significant in fashion, technology, decorating, and all areas of design. This year’s choice? Radiant Orchid.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute®, explains that Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination. She says,

“An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

Every year since its inception, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced designs across multiple markets, being incorporated into many works of fashion, beauty products and interior design set pieces. This year is no different; Radiant Orchid has already been featured in many fashion shows of Spring 2014.

For designers color is a necessary component for aesthetic pleasure, setting the mood for the design. Specific colors invoke certain emotions in the viewer, and a good designer selects color with that in mind.

More and more designers have been choosing Ariaprene because, unlike traditional rubber, it can be manufactured in any color they want, all the way through.

And our truly green material looks terrific in Radiant Orchid.

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Photo credit: babykrul

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New Materials And New Directions In Fashion: My Interview With Design Student Nica Rabinowitz

Nica is a design student in her junior year at Parsons School of Design in New York. She recently incorporated Ariaprene into one of her creations.

Founded in 1896, Parsons School of Fashion is committed to new approaches to art and design education, and strongly encourages the use of critical thinking skills in its students to solve the world’s complex problems, including environmental issues.

Parson’s Fashion student Nica Rabinowitz recently used Ariaprene material to make a jacket, skirt and top outfit for one of her projects. I asked Nica to share her thoughts about her project inspiration and new directions for the future of fashion design.

Dacie:
What led you to study fashion design at Parsons, and where do you hope to go after that?

Nica:
I see fashion as an amazing way to express my point of view. However, the fashion industry is in desperate need of change. Through my course work and various internships I have become disillusioned with the current fashion system. I aim to change the way consumers think about clothing. I want to make clothing that is the opposite of disposable. Textiles are also at the root of my process, and I can see myself one day directing a textiles department, or creating my own textile-driven collections, that focus on sustainability and innovative solutions.

Dacie:
Can you talk about your creative process and how you find inspiration for your designs?

Nica:
I love to travel and explore the world around me. I try to interpret my experiences and thoughts through fashion. For this collection, a village in the mountains of Guatemala inspired me. When traveling I noticed a brightly colored graveyard. People were gathered around selling candy and laughing while standing on top of the graves that were painted boldly in blue, yellow, and pinks hues. At first I assumed a parade or party was going to start, but I quickly realized it was in fact a funerary gathering. This got my thinking about how we perceive death. I wanted to focus on an uplifting perspective on life’s passing.

Dacie:
What made you choose Ariaprene for your current project and how did it add/change/effect your final project?

Nica:
With this idea of uplift in mind, I wanted to have fun with the human form and play with sculpting shapes. I thought of using Neoprene, but did not want to use a fabric that was so bad for the environment. Ariaprene was the perfect solution. I was able to create shapes that held and were easy to manipulate. I wanted to hand sew all of my garments, in response to Guatemalan craft, and Ariaprene was great because it did not need to be finished beyond my hand stitch. More importantly, I was exploring the idea of building a lasting connection with my clothing as a designer. I hope this emotional connection can resonate with the wearer.

Dacie:
What future trends or directions do you see the fashion world moving into?

Nica:
I see the fashion world is becoming more aware of their actions and how they affect the environment. Eco-fashion is slowly becoming a major consideration in the industry, and not just a tacked-on buzzword. Fashion companies are beginning to think about “going green”, and I believe it can be a permanent shift in thinking–it needs to be more than a trend.


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Five Major Benefits of Sustainable Materials

Anyone can make a change for the better by choosing to buy products that use these materials.

A “sustainable” material is one whose life cycle can be sustained without causing environmental damage. This means it can be produced without toxins, can be used in products that have a long life, and can be recycled when they’re no longer useful.

If we are to solve our environmental problems and reduce the damage done to the planet by our resource-depleting practices, we need to begin using more of these sustainable materials in our products.

Here are five ways that this can be better for both you and the planet:

Renewable resources: First and biggest plus for both the planet and you. If we run out of a resource, no one gets to use it. Eventually, the planet will run out of oil, which takes thousands of years to form, and when that happens no one will be able to drive their cars. This can be viewed almost universally as a negative. The benchmark for “rapidly renewable resources” is bamboo, which grows at a rate of 6” a day, spreads like a weed, and has an astonishingly wide variety of uses.

Degradable materials: Another plus for both Earth and you. Sustainable materials usually have the quality of breaking down quickly in natural environments. If a substance is degradable, not only does it cause minimal environmental damage when thrown out, it also doesn’t release toxins that wind up in your water or food supply. Most materials derived from plants like wood, hemp, or the aforementioned bamboo degrade completely. Ariaprene is also degradable.

Recycled material: Many materials, despite not being biodegradable, are still classified as sustainable materials because they can be completely recycled and turned back into raw material for future products without requiring any additional materials. This means the space that they would have taken in the landfill can be filled by other things, and generally reduce our overflow of trash. Glass and rubber are two materials that have this quality. Some materials may not be completely recyclable due to the many different material components (think of sneakers). It some cases it takes more energy to deconstruct the shoe for recycling than the energy that would save. In these cases, a product can carry recycled content. It’s also even more important in this case that a product recycles their manufacturing scraps.

Minimal damage to environment: Most of us enjoy seeing wild animals; it’s the whole point of going to the zoo. In the interest of preserving habitats for those animals, it’s best to use materials that can be harvested without destroying the living spaces for creatures great and small. Cork is a prime example. It’s harvested by stripping the outer layer of bark off of a cork oak tree, after which the tree is left standing to produce more bark. This has hardly any impact on the ecology of the surrounding area.

Versatility: Many sustainable materials have multiple uses, making them even better choices for products. For example, the coconut is a fruit extremely rich in nutrients (some have called it “the Tree of Life” for this reason) but it can also be made into a fiber called coir. Coir is historically used mostly for shipbuilding, but has started to be adopted widely for a whole slew of uses.

If we as consumer consciously choose products made with sustainable materials, this cycle of good will be financially sustainable as well.

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Photo credit: hirekatsu

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The Top 7 Toxic Chemicals to Avoid

Watch out for these toxins found in foods, beauty, and skin care products.

You’ve probably heard the Latin term caveat emptor, which means “Let the buyer beware.” This is good advice as you look for ways to reduce your exposure to harmful toxins and unhealthy ingredients.

Just because a substance is legal, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. So be sure to read the labels of whatever you’re buying.

Here’s a list of seven common chemicals you should watch out for.

Parabens: Used as preservatives in several cosmetic products. They can interfere with hormone signaling and have been linked to impaired fertility in women. In particular, avoid the “long-chained” varieties, such as propylparaben or butylparaben. One place to really watch for parabens are in your deodorant. A while back we posted a recipe for toxin-free deodorant made with simple items from your pantry.

Lead Compounds: Despite lead being commonly known as a dangerous neurotoxin, it still manages to find its way into many products. As many as 85% of drinks marketed towards children contain potentially harmful levels of lead; in addition, several name-brand hair dyes contain lead acetate. Both of these products, if used or consumed, have a high risk of increasing the body’s lead levels.

Bisphenol A (BPA): A synthetic hormone that is found in 92% of canned goods, both organic and non. This chemical is particularly dangerous to infants and young children. Treehugger.com outlines 7 companies that use BPA free cans.

Hidden trans fats: Yes, I know you’ve been beaten over the head with how bad trans fats are for you. And you are probably aware that even the smallest amounts of it can contribute to cardiovascular disease and a rise in cholesterol levels. Well, did you know that companies can legally claim their product is “trans-fat free” if there are .49 or fewer grams of trans fats per serving? Check your labels: make sure whatever you’re buying was made with safe oils like olive, canola, or coconut.

Benzoyl Peroxide: Causes DNA damage in humans and is toxic if inhaled. It’s a common ingredient in most acne products. Did you know that our skin absorbs about 60% of what we put on it? And that DNA damage is what leads to cancer?

Triclosan: An antibacterial agent found in toothpastes, liquid hand soaps, and body washes, among other things. It interferes with the body’s hormone signaling, especially thyroid activity and male/female hormone signals.

Palm Oil: Okay, this last one isn’t harmful to your body, per se (though it is quite high in cholesterol), but it’s still an ingredient to watch out for. Why? Palm oil has gotten much more popular over the last couple years, meaning that the environmentally devastating techniques used to harvest it have also increased. Much of the destruction of Southeast Asia’s rain forests and endangerment of local animals is because of the growing demand for this commodity. Limiting that demand is the first step to stopping the devastation.

So be smart and read the small print on those labels.

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Photo credit: Profumi by ubik2010

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Green Eating, Green Living

Kale is considered by many to be a superfood. It’s high in fiber, iron, antioxidants, and Vitamins A, C, and K.

In my last post, The Ten Best Things You Can Do To Make The New Year A Little Greener, my tenth tip was to cut back on meat and animal products in your diet. Not only is it environmentally friendly, you’ll also be healthier and feel better.

Here’s a delicious way to get started. This kale salad has a wonderful garlic dressing that you infuse into the greens by gently “massaging” them. Adapted from a recipe at EatingWell .

Massaged Kale Salad

1 bunch kale
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/6 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 minced anchovy fillet or 1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Remove stems from leaves and throw out the stems. Wash and dry leaves.
2. Use your hands to tear the leaves into small pieces. Put the pieces in a large bowl.
3. Add in the Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, garlic cloves, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Add the anchovy as well if you’re using it.
4. Now use your hands again to mix and crush the kale, “massaging” it. This works the flavor into the greens. Stop when the crushed kale is about half the size it was when you started massaging. The leaves should appear darker and a little shiny.
5. Taste your creation and add more of the seasoning (parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, etc.) if you think it needs more.

This recipe will make about three servings, enough for you and a friend to eat while saving some for a later meal.

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Photo credit: JWilsher

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