World Car Free Day doesn’t sound like the type of event to attract the attention and participation of a car company. Then again, Volvo has for decades pitched itself as a different kind of car company, so to mark the driving-free day, Volvo Car Canada is launching a shoe in collaboration with a shoe company that is working on earth-friendly footwear. The shoe will include recycled material in the sole and the upper to show off the sustainability work of both companies.
The day, which is held annually on September 22, was first marked in 1995. The first national version was in the UK, followed by France, and has since become an official European Commission event and recognized worldwide. The goal is to promote mass transit and bring attention to ways to commute and travel that don’t require a car, thereby helping to reduce city congestion and pollution for the rest of the year. In Canada, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal have all had car-free days.
While we assume that Volvo would still prefer to see you in a car or crossover, at least some of the time, the company says that it is onboard for increased sustainability. “At Volvo Cars, we are committed to setting the highest standards of sustainability in mobility and that goes beyond electrifying our fleet to transforming all aspects of our business,” said Volvo Car Canada Managing Director, Matt Girgis. “The shoe we have created with Casca in celebration of World Car Free Day is one way to recognize the many steps we are taking on our journey to climate neutrality.”
The design of the shoe, Volvo says, takes the Scandinavian influences and simplicity as found in the XC40 recharge. It’s simple and straightforward, but also gets Volvo’s Thor’s Hammer treatment in the linework and paneling of the shoe. There is a Swedish flag on one shoe tag and Casca’s yellow on the other.
10 percent of each shoe’s sole is made from recycled car tires, a first for Casca. Seven recycled bottles go into the yarn to make the breathable upper. Casca says that by next year all of its knit uppers will be made from recyclable or renewable materials.
The shoe will be available in a limited run for sale starting on World Car Free Day, September 22. The shoe will be offered on Casca’s website, priced at $198.
Volvo has committed to reducing the lifecycle emissions of each vehicle by 40 percent by 2025 and moving to all-electric by 2030.
The automaker has said it aims to increase recycled and bio-based materials to 25 percent of the material in its vehicles by 2025. In Canada, Volvo Cars has announced that its corporate office uses 100 percent renewable energy. Casca works to make shoes that use less waste and contain low-impact leather. The company says it ensures its factories meet ethical and living wage standards.