The Company: Lactae Hevea (Reltex)
Reltex, a company based in the Dauphiné region of France, started producing their Lactae Hevea soles in the 1970's based on a Native American process that was refined and adapted in France to make comfortable yet durable soles.
The Product: Latex soles made from 100% natural virgin hevea milk harvested in South East Asia, Thailand and Vietnam. This is an environmentally-friendly material that has a unique alveolar microstructure which gives the sole its unparalleled comfort.
The Process: The hevea milk is harvested by rubber tapping Pará rubber trees, a process which is not damaging to the forest as it does not require the tree to be cut down in order for the latex to be extracted.
The milk is then hand poured into metal casts, oven baked and then left to dry, see this process in the video below.
Sustainability: As summed up in this snippet from their website, the process of harvesting the raw materials for the soles has little to no environmental impact.
"The harvest of the hevea milk, far from weakening the tree, actually helps it to flourish. By the time one end of the part which has been cut has been reached, the other end has regenerated and a new cycle can begin.No natural forest is cut down. After 25 years of exploitation, the old tree is felled and a new tree is planted. The end product of an environmentally-friendly, artisanal process carried out entirely by hand by the craftsmen of a human-sized company, the LACTAE HEVEA® sole is in keeping with a sustainable development approach."
The company also recycles and off-cuts and waste material by selling them to a third party to be used to make other products such as tyres and gloves
Products featuring this component:
Find out more: Head to their website www.lactae-hevea.com