Sustainable resources, vegetable dyes, biodegradable soles: WAO is a virtuous footwear brand that promotes and spreads the education and respect of the planet and its resources. WAO takes care of the whole life cycle of the products, from creation to disposal.

Every day, WAO becomes more and more green. What are the latest goals you have achieved?

We have closed a deal with Aquafil S.p.A., the company that produces Econyl, a material in nylon 100% recycled with which we realize the upper of our shoes Nylong. The partnership includes the return of the shoe upper so that it can be once more restored; we are the first ones in the footwear industry doing something like this. The recycled nylon Econyl is 100% made by industrial leftovers and a percentage of abandoned fishing nets, therefore is already part of circular economy; by disposing once more the shoes we expand the circularity of the product. 

What are you going to present in this edition of White?

A version of Nylong with white sole, an addition to the two already in the market with grey and amber soles’ colors. We are developing a Nylong looking exactly like the existing one, but instead of an organic cotton lining it has one in Econyl that we will mount without glue to facilitate the overall disposal of the shoe, clearly without compromising on production quality. 

Beyond footwear, are you looking into new product categories?

We are developing a new version of the hemp shoe that will substitute the current version, not for a seasonal change, but for good: it will be lighter, more comfortable and we are trying to dye the shoe after mounting the sole, so the color effect will be unique. We have sampled socks, both men and women, using only 100% natural fibers, without using chemical colors and we are testing natural ones instead; but we need to use them, wash them and use them again, only after understanding the strength of the colors (considering that they are directly in touch with your skin) we will evaluate the production. And then..we’ll produce a suitcase! We also have in mind to produce other types of shoes, runners and/or a boot model as well as sandals for the next summer season. We are finally starting to have more visibility; the sales are increasing, and now different companies are getting in touch to use innovative materials. 

What are your future projects?


In terms of brand development, we’ve had issues due to Covid, everything slowed down, decision making was getting more and more difficult and for an innovative start-up, pandemic or not, there are 5 years time to develop a winning business plan and often if you skip the initial starting phase you find yourself stuck. We are managing to keep going, currently with the resources of the working partners, initially realizing two crowdfunding on kickstarter and soon we will participate to a European tender: in Italy more and more we hear about circular economy, but it’s a struggle to have access to the funds.