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The cluster doesn’t live only from shoes

05 Mar 2020

News The cluster doesn’t live only from shoes

From sugar cane to tennis balls. From algae to cork. From vegetal soles to incorporating recycled materials. Through Lineapelle’s corridors, the news from Portuguese companies do not stop coming.

From sugar cane to tennis balls. From algae to cork. From vegetal soles to incorporating recycled materials. Through Lineapelle’s corridors, the news from Portuguese companies do not stop coming. In February, Milan was the host of the biggest components’ fair worldwide, which gathered 1200 exhibitors from 40 countries. The fair happened, for the first time, simultaneously with the last day of MICAM and Mipel.
Overall, over 30 national components and tannery companies presented the news and trends for the next summer of 2020. The last news was launched by ISI Soles, from Felgueiras, which created shoe soles made from tennis balls. But there is more! Founded in 1999, ISI Soles is specialized in the production of injected soles. At the moment, the company has as main goal to “improve the product and fulfill the demands of the clients”, which are mainly focused on “sustainability. We want to incorporate national raw materials and have the minimum waste as possible”. Regarding product, the company has presented lighter and more flexible materials. Regarding innovation, it has been introducing products that go to waste, as are the cases of rubber or cork. “Currently, we have soles produced with 50-70% of recycled material”, says Vitor Mendes.
Also from Felgueiras, Vapesol has launched the brand VP Sustainable. Sustainability is one of the main concerns of the components company that recognizes this niche market. “Clients have been demanding a lot for this. We don’t know when we’ll have a significative production, but we have to be ready for when that happens”.
At Lineapelle, the company lead by Décio Pereira has presented the sole Eva Green, developed with 70% of sugar cane, “a unique product within our national context, which has no use of any products from oil”.
The environmental concern seems to be the path for the sector. With 20 years participating at Lineapelle, Atlanta, that has headquarters in Lixa, has presented soles with 84% of vegetal origin. “In this product there are no materials from mineral origin”, states Paulo Ribeiro, the CEO of the company.
Bolflex also has been investing in this type of products. The company from Felgueiras has presented solutions for recycling materials. “An investment that’ll be renovated in the future with new solutions, states António Ferreira. Recently, Bolflex also presented a new range of products (E-Rubber® and R-Skin®), which are based in a patented devulcanization technology that creates a product similar to the virgin rubber, which is again reintroduced in the manufacture process.
With a production of 5 million soles per year, Forever presented a wide range of sustainable products. “Currently, we’re able to present to our clients product develop with all type of materials, from algae to sugar cane”. For the company, that has headquarters in Vila Nova de Gaia, the investment on sustainable materials is the investment of the future. “We have been presenting to our clients several sustainable solutions for about 10-15 years. The customer is increasingly more thoughtful and, therefore, demands alternative solutions. And we already got them”.
But shoes not only made wfrom soles. The tannery companies were also represented at Lineapelle. It was the case of Multicouro. “This is the biggest leather and accessory fair worldwide and is a privileged meeting point for the sector’s players. To Rodolfo Andrade, CEO of the company from São João da Madeira, the main challenge is to anticipate the next season’s trends. Essentially, this fair works a season ahead of the seasons presented at MICAM, which takes place a days earlier. “It’s not easy to anticipate trends. It’s a short period of time and involves a lot of research work”.
At this edition, Lineapelle has revealed itself essential for global supply chain of the fashion and luxury products industries, with 20.000 visitors and an increase of 2% compared to 2019th edition. “A growth pinpointed by Italian and foreign operators, despite the absence of Chinese and Middle Eastern exhibitors and buyers, due to coronavirus epidemic”, states the fair’s organization.
Lineapelle’s next edition will take place at Fiera Milano, from  23 to 25 September 2020, and will be dedicated to the Fall/Winter 2021/2022 season.