Orba Orba Ghost Sneaker

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Sam Marshall
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Sam Marshall
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Greg Howard, Scott Anderson, Marshall Westlake, Gillian Boucher Anderson, David Chrisnaldi, Elizabeth Dean
  • Kaitautoko / Contributor
    Foundry Creative
Judge's comments:

Compelling sustainable credentials combined with stylish design convinced the judges and impressed them with the thoroughness and effort taken to achieve the goal of world-first mass-produced biodegradable shoe.


Our project is the design and launch of a world-first biodegradable sneaker that is sustainably mass-produced. Targeting the urban casual and business wearer, it minimizes manufacturing and disposal impacts and maximizes sustainability practice without compromising comfort and style.

Footwear brands are experiencing increasing pressures because of society’s growing concern about the impacts of standard synthetic footwear materials that pollute landfill for thousands of years. The materials we have chosen are not only durable, but plant-based, creating an entirely degradable upper, including the cellulose tips of the organic cotton shoelaces, and the move from standard plastic or metal eyelets to embroidered eyelets. A key to the degradability of our shoe is a ground-breaking natural rubber and rice husk ash sole that is currently undergoing ISO 14885-1 testing for biodegradability. No details on our commitment to biodegradability have been overlooked.

There has been an increase in eco-footwear brands with common claims of sustainably sourced materials and recycled materials. Most recycled materials used in footwear are still synthetic and still contribute to pollution. We believe in a ‘strong’ sustainability approach and are taking responsibility for the environmental impact of the end-of-life of our shoes.

Apart from environmental responsibility we also practice good corporate social responsibility and strive to have a fully transparent and sustainable supply chain. To achieve this within the confines of economic sustainability at the current stage of growth we choose materials that have eco-labels to support ethical sourcing and manufacturing. Where this is not possible, we engage with our smaller suppliers (SMEs) and provide microfinance for training programs to ensure sustainable growth and practices.

To find out more visit www.orbashoes.eco