Explaining the Components and Materials Behind the Baliston by STARCK Footwear Design 


Baliston believes in designing footwear that moves us forward.

Bringing together visionary, intentional design by Philippe Starck and groundbreaking A.I. technology, Baliston by STARCK has unlocked the potential within this essential everyday item and crafted a shoe that supports better health and a better world. Starck, a world-famous creator whose multifaceted inventions range from everyday products to naval and space engineering, is renowned for pursuing all his projects from an ethical foundation: his designs help support a better life—for individuals, communities, and our shared environment.

When it comes to design, construction, and ethos, Baliston is leading the footwear industry into a progressive new future.


Baliston by STARCK biomaterials make all the difference

The Baliston’s elegant, minimal design is achieved with an economy of materials—only five total—all of which are sustainably sourced, 100% recyclable biomaterials.

Biomaterials are textiles derived from biological organisms, such as plants, animals, and fungi. Depending on their methods of cultivation and harvest, biomaterials can be much more environmentally friendly than oil-based synthetic textiles. Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester not only use up non-renewable materials like fossil fuels at alarming rates, but can also emit toxic chemicals into our air and water.

Using only five biomaterials in a minimalist, intelligently crafted way not only enables Baliston shoes to be recycled, but done so efficiently thanks to the ease at which the components can be broken down. Other shoes are typically made of 20-30 separate components, many of which are not recyclable in the first place.

Here is some context around the five sustainably grown and produced biomaterials used to create Baliston by STARCK shoes:

Castor bean yarn

The upper part of our shoe, embroidery, laces, and back strap are all made of castor bean yarn. Castor beans, which grow easily and use very little water, are not a food source, eliminating the competition between the textile and food markets. The oil extracted from castor beans is considered a “green” resource, meaning it is both biodegradable and sustainable. Textiles made from castor bean oil are light, breathable, elastic, and quick-drying, making them ideal for everyday and athletic wear.

Sugarcane Green EVA

Produced from raw material sugarcane, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is a soft, flexible material reminiscent of rubber. Baliston shoes use sustainably sourced sugarcane EVA for their soles. Flexible and light, it is quickly becoming a go-to green alternative for conventional shoe materials. Sugarcane offers added environmental benefits, too. Most notably, it stores carbon in its roots, meaning its ecological contribution continues after the crop is harvested and the roots are left behind to reproduce again.

Organic cotton

The insole cover and lining of Baliston shoes are made with organic cotton. Grown without environmentally harmful pesticides and chemicals, organic cotton uses much less water and energy than non-organic cotton. Unlike non-organic cotton fields, organic farmers grow their cotton in rotation with other crops to replenish and maintain soil fertility and support biodiversity.

Natural rubber

Not all rubber is created equal. Synthetic rubber, produced artificially, is a type of plastic that is not biodegradable. Natural rubber, however, is made from plant materials and is biodegradable and ecologically friendly. An added benefit for users of natural rubber is its higher tensile strength and greater flexibility. The soles of Baliston shoes contain anti-slip circular pads made of natural rubber that enhance the wearer’s stability, especially on slick surfaces.

Recycled plastic

Baliston shoes include a pocket for a revolutionary sensor module that track users’ biometrics, including walking symmetry, stride length, propulsion, and heel impact force. These sensor modules are made of recycled plastic. Recycling plastics helps reduce our burden on landfills, conserves resources, protects the environment from pollution, and provides a substitute for high-emissions materials.

Gait-analysis technology changing how you walk

Baliston’s sensor modules do more than just track biometrics. Baliston leverages users’ data to offer personalized insights and recommendations via the Baliston Connect™ app to help wearers improve their walking quality, fitness, and overall health, while helping reduce fatigue and pain. The more the wearer walks, the more the shoes capture unique information about their walking DNA, and the more personalized the insights and recommendations become. Over time, wearers unlock detailed gait analyses that include information about the wearer’s pronation/supination, musculature, and joint mobility.

Baliston’s innovative technology extends beyond biometric feedback for the user. Fit and support are also critical, especially when it comes to our body’s foundation. After purchasing their first pair and walking between 200 and 250 miles, wearers receive a recyclable comfort insole fitted for their specific gait, informed by the biomechanical data collected by Baliston’s sensor modules.

Moving sustainable design beyond the trend

Balistons are not just shoes—they are an ecosystem. Wearers don’t simply buy a pair of shoes; they participate in a new way of life that will support their health and wellness along with a less wasteful, more sustainable future. A Baliston membership enables wearers to replace their shoes for free as soon as the Baliston Connect app notifies them that the sole’s cushioning has decreased to 20%. When their new pair arrives, wearers return their worn pair to the Baliston recycling center using prepaid shipping materials. Once at the facility, every component of the shoes is recycled. Some materials will be used in the next collection of Baliston shoes, whereas other materials will be used by the raw material manufacturers for different products to avoid downcycling – the repurposing of material into a new product of lower quality.

Designing a shoe for a more sustainable future means moving beyond trends and fads. The footwear industry has historically been among the most wasteful in the apparel sector, with as much as 95% of the 25 billion products produced each year ending up in a landfill. Baliston’s minimalist and elegant look, groundbreaking technology, and circular business model break the toxic throw-away fashion cycle.

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