Blumaka: Making Shoes and Insoles from Environmentally Friendly Foam

From one business to another, we hope you agree that sustainability is more than just a selling point to our earth-conscious consumers. It’s something that should be central to how we do business and source our materials. At Blumaka, our mission is to make the shoe manufacturing process far more earth-friendly and to drastically reduce waste. We want to make the world greener, landfills smaller and footwear better.

Environmentally Friendly Foam

Here at Blumaka, we are a proud leader in sustainable business practices and part of making the earth a better place day by day. We welcome the opportunity to do business with other companies that are interested in making a difference in the way goods are produced and sold. If you’ve ever wondered, “can foam be recycled?” the answer is, “YES!” We upcycle high performance foam scraps into great new products, turning trash into traction! 

We make foam the right way, converting what would be dumped into landfills at a startling volume, into high-performance soles and insoles. The Blumaka conversion/recycling process is simple: we grind waste foam to create granulated particles, which comprise up to 85% of the new product. Our process is better for the planet. Much better. 

Water Conservancy 

Our manufacturing process uses 99.9% less water than the traditional EVA production process to create footwear foam. So not only are we recycling foam, effectively reducing waste, but we're making better products while using less water. What we make, as well as how we make it, demonstrates our commitment to making the world a little better.       

We make foam components fabricated from leftover scraps. We make it by utilizing approximately 4 grams of water per pair of new insoles, midsoles, or outsoles, whereas traditional manufacturing processes use nearly a gallon of water, or 3391 grams per pair.

The Blumaka foam manufacturing method could save nearly 11 billion gallons of water annually. That is enough water to supply 200 million people with fresh drinking water for a year! It’s a little mind-blowing, but true:

12 billion pairs of shoes are produced annually using EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate). Because Blumaka saves 9/10th of a gallon, the savings in water on those 12 billion pairs of shoes is 10.8 billion gallons! Blumaka's potential water savings is nearly 11 BILLION gallons annually!

How much water do we use?

At Blumaka, we publicly report our water consumption in making footwear foam parts. We invite all foam manufacturers and footwear brands to join us in bringing more transparency to the issue of water consumption and encouraging sustainable foam manufacturing because we know it can be done–we’re doing it!

Eco-Friendly & Affordable Tooling

We reduce tooling costs for shoe manufacturers.  We offer a full set of tooling (15 sizes) for up to 85% less than standard tooling costs. The Blumaka non-metallic tooling is easy to recycle and has a smaller carbon footprint than traditional tooling. A full set of new tooling can be made in just a few weeks.

This nimble tooling system liberates brands from the constraints of the onerous tooling process, freeing them to design new products and refresh them quickly to meet the changing market conditions and produce new styles and products.

Eco-Friendly Sole & Insole Design Potential

We offer 20 different colors on demand and the ability to make midsoles utilizing multiple colors within one part. No minimum order quantity (MOQ) for color changes. No MOQ for multiple colors. Blumaka can change the mold texture virtually overnight. Think of the flexibility that offers!

With these design options, brands are free to refresh and update styles weekly, monthly, or even daily. Build unique products for key retailers or your own DTC site. With this ability, smaller product runs to confirm product/market fit are now possible instead of dumping energy and resources into bigger production that ends up in landfills.

You can design and make the best shoe insoles for flat feet, the best insoles with firm arch support, or the best insoles for creating internal foot traction for athletes at any time! The agile nature of the tooling means so much more freedom in your footwear designs.

Endless Applications For Shoe Manufacturers

We give each product line manager the levers to optimize the foam midsole to meet the needs of their brands and their customer. You can choose the:

  • Type of material 
  • Combinations of materials
  • Durometers
  • Combination of Durometers
  • Placement of material
  • Skin thickness
  • Texture 

Utilizing the Blumaka process, one mold can make a foam part engineered in multiple materials and degrees of hardness. Utilizing these performance levers, brands are now in control of their midsoles. Gone are the days of “one foam fits all” footwear applications. Build the right midsole for each footwear application.

How is a Blumaka component made? 

The primary ingredient in a Blumaka part is granulated foam, which comprises nearly 85% of the content of the component. The foam in a Blumaka part can be made from recycled material, EVA, PU, biofoam, Bloom, Poron, TPE-E, TPU, Styrofoam, Silicone, Neoprene, or any foam that can be chopped up. In fact, a mix of different materials can be used in any one component. If you have a favorite foam, we can use it. 

Our ability to select the performance properties of a material before we fabricate a part provides brands with a high level of control over the ultimate characteristics of the final component. 

Once the foam mixture has been formulated, we blend the foam granules with a PU (polyurethane) binder. The PU acts as a micro-skin on each piece of foam and is the glue that holds all the pieces together. To further tune the performance of the part, we can adjust the amount and durometer of the PU used. We can pour 20 colors of PU at any one time, providing incredible flexibility related to the design and look of the component.  

Finally, we can add an optional TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) micro skin to the outer surface of the midsole component. This skin is elastic, so when the foam is in compression, the TPU skin is in tension. This acts both as a moderator to reduce deflection and as a support to help the foam recover. To adjust the spring rate of the component, we can adjust the skin firmness, thickness, and material type. 

The TPU skin also acts as a micro barrier against water, chemicals, and other materials that might compromise the foam’s integrity. So if you wonder how to clean shoe insoles, it just got easier because they are clean from the start! The TPU skin provides additional graphic, aesthetic, and color capabilities that are not possible on traditional components. This skin capability gives brands the option to have multiple colored parts with no change in cost or tooling.

Shoe Manufacturing So Versatile, You Can’t Lose!

We hope you will join us in our mission to make shoe manufacturing more earth-friendly and affordable. With the total versatility of our manufacturing processes, you save a lot of money, time, and water! Not to mention, space in the landfills. No matter what size of operation you run, we can meet your needs and help you to offer a truly sustainable option to your customers. Show them you care and save money at the same time–what do you have to lose? If you have questions about how you can utilize these amazing benefits and make the world a better place while you’re doing it, contact us today!

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