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Invention: Scoots Footwear

David Costello, a Zell Fellow at the Kellogg School of Management, launched a new plant-based footwear brand called Scoots as part of Kellogg’s New Venture curriculum.

innovation scoots numbered
The PA1 (PineApple1), the first product from Scoots, a plant-based footwear brand launched by David Costello '19 MBA

Summer 2019
Innovation
2 Responses

Americans throw away about 300 million pairs of shoes each year. Almost all of them end up in landfills, where they can take centuries to break down. That waste inspired David Costello, a Zell Fellow at the Kellogg School of Management, to launch a new plant-based footwear brand called Scoots as part of Kellogg’s New Venture curriculum. After 15 months of interviewing and planning — and taking classes at the Chicago School of Shoemaking — Costello and his seven-member team launched a Kickstarter campaign in June. Costello plans for a full launch in 2020. Here’s what goes into making Scoots’ first product, the PA1 (PineApple 1).

1. Pineapple on Top

One of the primary materials used in Scoots is Piñatex, a natural textile made from pineapple leaves that can be dyed a variety of colors. Scoots will launch with four color options — paprika, charcoal, chocolate and oatmeal. Scoots are also made from corn-based PLA, a type of biodegradable plastic that helps maintain the shoe’s stability.

2. Stylish Threads

The stitching serves both a functional and stylistic purpose. The customizable color thread adds contrast to the sole and bonds the shoe together. 

3. Corked

The Scoots sole is made from Portuguese cork, which is harvested every summer by hand. The natural latex-coated cork sole molds to the foot, making the shoe more comfortable over time. Scoots are manufactured in the north of Portugal. 

The Insole Story

The removable insole consists of three layers — a natural cotton canvas, a natural latex foam and a thin layer of cork. The cotton lining lets air circulate, keeping feet cool and dry. The latex provides cushion and support for the foot and improves the flexibility of the cork midsole. 

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Reader Responses

  • Well done, David! I am focused on sustainability and zero waste education within my community, and this is a great alternative to current products.

    Jen Bernaz Milnes ’03 Summit, N.J., via Northwestern Magazine

  • This is a brilliant invention and thoughtful solution to our horrendously overflowing landfills. I’m a vegetarian always looking for good-looking, well-made shoes. Is there an email list I could get on so I know when you launch? Thank you for your fine work!

    Ann Jarmusch ’73 Sedona, Ariz., via Northwestern Magazine

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