Shoe Made of ‘Vegetable Plastic’ Can Biodegrade in Months

Take a hike. Toss your shoes in the woods at the end. That’s an extreme example. But in theory the 01M shoes, which are made in Spain of a vegetable-based plastic material, could go from your foot to a compost bin once worn out.

The company touts the shoes will biodegrade in about six months. I wore them around for a few days.

Weird looks were a common side effect from pedestrians in my test. With pointy toes and no sole they look like elf shoes.

Elf-shoe aesthetic

In truth, the 01M footwear act more like slippers or socks than shoes. The material is at max 2mm thick and they have zero support.

The vegetable-based plastic is clammy on the foot, and trapped air “burps” out of the ankle cuff occasionally as you walk. This adds an unpleasant audible effect to the already startlingly strange shoes.

Flex your toes and the 01M shoes flex, too. The rubbery bio-plastic will protect from dirt but don’t expect the shoes to hold up to sharp stones.

For protection from a dirty hotel shower, sure, these throw-away shoes can work. They are lightweight (about 2.5 ounces each) and cheap at $20 a pair.

01M shoes come in a vacuum-packed bag (top) and roll up tiny for transport in a pocket

The company touts its products contain no glues, solvents or other mal chemicals used in the manufacturer of traditional footwear.

I applaud the effort and the ethos of the shoes. But the performance and functionality is quite limited.

One outdoors use, a backpacker might consider taking a pair along into the woods. After a day tromping in hiking boots the sock-like 01Ms could be a great wear-around-camp option.

If not, roll them up and put them away. Or, if the strange footwear isn’t living up to your expectations, dig a hole and throw the 01Ms inside. Nature will take care of the rest.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.