Our commitment

How we manufacture our products

The innovative production of footwear based on sustainable concepts.
It’s our responsibility.
Our ambitious undertaking is to break away from the conventional.

Companies who strive to do this are few and far between; the general trend is to continue to create shoes with too many components that use heavy metals and toxins during the manufacturing process.
At Natural Step we are committed to pushing back the barriers of sustainable design and one of the essential premises of this is the creation of comfortable, efficient shoes that last and that make a contribution to environmental conservation.

Here at Natural Step we know what our customers want. Today we look for comfort over and above the latest trends and fashions, prioritising the all-important wellbeing of our feet and our body. But at the same time we must look to tomorrow and think of the future.

We are a company for which responsible conduct in the manufacturing of our product is as important a factor as quality. We make products inspired by environmental survival.

Materials

We only use the best materials for the manufacture of our shoes.
Natural materials, that are painstakingly selected.
Quality based on the most demanding standards.
Materials that are light and flexible, yet very strong and long-lasting.
All of these factors combine to produce shoes that are extremely comfortable, balanced and functional.

  • The main components of Natural Step products come from natural sources

  • Cork: Pure and 100% Spanish, the best quality cork in the world as we are the largest producers.

  • Natural rubber. Extracted using entirely natural, ecological methods with zero environmental impact.

  • Jute: A plant fibre

Leathers

We only use carefully chosen top-quality leathers.
The leather we use is natural and tanned using plant-based processes that do not leave harmful waste behind.
This reduces the amount of toxins and heavy metals produced.
Leather has valuable natural qualities such as the feel, strength and long-lasting nature of the material.
Instead of using artificial dyes, our leathers are impregnated with natural dyes.
This means that the leather remains breathable and its porous nature is unchanged.

Other materials

Synthetic materials and textiles.
In some models as an alternative to leather we use our special material NS13, which is made of very soft, strong and very light wool, which is exceptionally comfortable for the foot.

We also use textiles made of natural plant fibres such as cotton, jute, hemp, linen, coconut fibre, ramie, sisal etc.

Buckles and decoration

These are specially treated to prevent corrosion and any other type of damage that this might cause.
This means that each component should have a long useful life.
These parts are moulded to adapt naturally to the cut of the superior-quality materials we use.
They are exceptionally durable and the system we use to affix them provides a guarantee of security.

Soles

Our soles are made of light polyurethane alloys that are CFC-free and recycled.

Some also use EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) that is characterised by its excellent resistance to abrasion, long-lasting nature and superb cushioning properties.

The material is expanded to form tiny air bubbles that guarantee comfort while walking and therefore ensure the feet are also comfortable.

Since excessive partial wear is not a problem in our shoes, postural damage is prevented.

Insole

The soul of our product.
This essential element of our products is manufactured entirely in our own facilities so that we can have full control of the production process, allowing us to guarantee the quality of the product.

  • Our insoles are specifically devised to provide the maximum possible comfort:

  • Designed to imitate the natural shape of the foot.

  • Simulate the natural print of the foot in sand.

Encourage the tilting movement of the foot, which means that the muscles in the feet and legs are exercised with every step.

Made of cork, natural rubber, jute and natural, breathable velour leather, all of which ensure that the feet are comfortable.Like walking barefoot.
Like walking along the sand on the seashore. When you try on our shoes, walk in them and experience the sheer comfort, you will never want to wear other shoes again.The healthiest option for your feet.

  • Our insoles make all the difference. They are characterised by their anatomically correct design that respects the natural shape of the foot and provides wellbeing with every step.

  • Imitates the natural shape of a healthy foot.

  • Provides the uniform absorption of bodyweight, distributing the force exerted on the foot in the best possible way.

  • Provides the foot with the full breadth of movement it needs, avoiding the limitation of movement or the squashing of the toes, as well as ensuring that no part of the foot is subject to excess stress which would lead to weakness of muscles, tendons and ligaments.

  • Allows steps to be taken as naturally as possible, improving and strengthening the muscles of the feet and legs.

Our insoles mould themselves perfectly to the feet and, thanks to the careful design that provides them with the extraordinary qualities of flexibility and recovery of their shape, they give way proportionally to the weight of each user, expanding freely around the perimeter of the shoe and effectively distributing the stress caused by each step, as the construction of our shoes mean that this stress is not limited to one area by any hard or rigid elements. In this way our special, pleasant cushioned effect is produced, which in turn efficiently absorbs the impact caused by walking.
Our use of top-quality components and their perfect combination in the secret manufacturing formula that we have come up with in our laboratories mean that this effect is almost everlasting, remaining constant and permanent from the first to the last day of wear.

Composition

Cork

The cork that we use is obtained using a natural, non-mechanical process that has been handed down through the generations to collect the bark of the cork oak, making it entirely environmentally sound.
The harvesting of cork is considered a non-crop forestry exploitation and is a non-invasive process; no trees are cut down to obtain the product. It is a renewable resource. This means that the harvesting is beneficial for the environment, maintaining the stability of the woodland.

There are many complicated steps in the process of obtaining suitable cork for our insoles.

Firstly the bark is removed from the cork oak tree.
This process is entirely manual and natural and causes no damage to the tree.
It is a process that is repeated approximately every 9 years.

The bark is then left to dry out over a period of several months. Then, in order to ensure that it is clean and hygienic, it is boiled in water a minimum of twice, with several months of resting time between the two boilings.
It is then cut into strips and the corks used by the wine industry are stamped out of it.

From the cork left over after this process, we pre-select the best quality and lightest cork, which is then milled into small grains which are subsequently bound naturally with pure rubber to form our insoles.

  • Cork is one of nature’s wonders and has a huge number of qualities that in the world of footwear make it somewhat exceptional:

  • Flexibility

  • Elasticity: An excellent ability to return to its original volume after distortion.

  • Lightness: This is because 88% of the total volume is air, which means that cork has a very low density.

  • Strength. High friction coefficient: the surface of the cork is covered with microsuckers which make it highly adhesive and prevent slippage.

  • Long-lasting

  • High level of water tightness. It is very difficult for liquids or gases to permeate the cork thanks to the plasmodesmata of which it consists.

  • Anti-bacterial, anti-mould, rot-proof. The very low moisture level of the cork (6%) makes it impossible for micro-organisms to grow, which contributes to its unlimited durability.

  • Aeroelasticity. Shock-absorbing properties: Aeroelasticity means that the area affected by the distortion is not just the area in direct contact with the impact. Instead, this is also transferred to the adjacent areas, which gives the insole extraordinary shock-absorbing properties.

  • Heat insulation: The structure of the material, with its tiny pockets, prevents air circulation while the low water content and non-conductive nature of the components makes it a very effective heat insulator.

All these things mean that our insoles provide fantastic shock absorbing properties, flexibility and insulation against moisture, cold and heat.

Natural rubber

Latex gum emulsion is collected from the bark of the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) by the carving of incisions into the bark. The latex is harvested carefully and responsibly, in harmony with the natural cycle.
Subsequently, after passing through several different processes, the latex is transformed into an adhesive substance that is used to bind the cork granules used in our insoles. This means that it is the natural bonding agent for the cork.
The latex used has a very high level of elasticity and is also very resistant to traction, properties which are transferred to our insole, providing flexibility and a very long useful life.

Jute

This well-known natural product has two functions: it is used to stabilise our insoles and at the same time to absorb moisture.

Manufacture

We use complex processes and secret formulas to combine selected cork of the highest quality in a paste with the best natural rubber, together with certain natural oils. This base paste is fed into aluminium moulds that are carefully modelled on the shape of the foot, along with jute that has been stamped out to the precise measurement of the insole, other stabilisers obtained from recycled fibres, and the leather. The process used is entirely manual. The next step is to maintain the mould at a constant temperature of 125°C for 25 minutes, during which the components are literally cooked, joining them together and giving the end product of the insole.

After this the insole undergoes several processes aimed at transforming and perfecting it, such as sanding, refining etc. This is followed by a last process of matching shades of leather and then the selection of insole qualities according to flexibility, lightness, strength etc.

Only those insoles that provide a perfect combination of all of the properties listed are selected for use in our shoes.