Cork Harvesting for Cork Insoles and Hotel Slippers

KYC - Know Your Cork

Everyone loves good cork once in a while. Cork, arguably, ranks among the most generous of materials in the natural world as we know it today.


Cork can be soft. 


Cork can be hard. 


Cork grows with the cycle of nature and adheres to the laws of the cork oak tree. It is the only solid that, when compressed on one end, does not expand in volume on the other. It is extremely comfortable and soft to the touch, yet supportive and firm. Ideal for - who’d say - under one’s feet. As in cork insoles for instance. Or cork hotel slippers.


Sustainable Cork Insoles and Cork Hotel Slippers


Additionally, did you know that cork has a high friction coefficient? Bet you weren’t aware of that one. Thanks to its honeycomb structure, its resistance to impact of friction is greater than that of other hard surfaces. 


And what about getting wet?


Well, this is where the title of Know Your Cork really comes into play. Cork contains suberin and ceroids in its cell walls, making it impermeable to liquids ánd gasses. Pretty ideal characteristics to prevent premature aging. No, we do not recommend rubbing corks all over your face every evening before sleeping. Better to stick with your go-to moisturizer. As long as it’s a sustainable option, of course. 


Beyond these important cork characteristics, there are also other - more elusive - benefits to the power that is cork. For instance, cork is naturally antibacterial which of course is a major benefit for all those smelly feet people out there. But cork also acts as an excellent thermal regulator, leading to very low thermal conductivity over a wide range of temperatures. In layman’s terms this means that when it’s cold outside, cork remains relatively close to your body temperature - and the same counts for when it’s hot outside, cork keeps a cool base to take your sustainable steps on. Best way to maximize your steps while keeping your footprint to a minimum? Try cork soles: for high arch or low arch, and the Primal Clouds built entirely off of customer feedback with the perfect balance of arch support and squishiness.


Cork Harvesting for Cork Insoles and Cork Hotel Slippers


Cork is not only good for people. It’s great for nature. Cork is endemic to the Mediterranean basin and the bark of the cork oak tree can be harvested every nine years starting 25 years after the tree’s life. The cork tree lives for an approximate 200 years, outliving us simple beings well beyond our lifetime. Over the course of these nine year cycles, the cork oak tree is able to sequester 73 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere per ton of cork harvested. Yes, that is a major natural achievement and one of the many beauties of cork.


“The cork oak forests, Montado in Portuguese, are living ambassadors of sustainability and a driving force of sustainable development. They play a crucial role in the world’s ecological balance, fighting climate change and desertification, and sustaining biodiversity. Over 200 animal species and 135 plant species, some of them endangered, find their preferred habitat in the cork oak forest. Because it’s biologically rich and varied, but also extremely vulnerable, the cork oak forest is one of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots, on a par with Amazonia and the African Savanna. In the Mediterranean basin, cork oak forests occupy an area of over 2,2 million hectares. In more than one way, they are the lungs of the region. Because they are crucial to maintain a fragile ecological balance, but also because they play a decisive role in shaping unique social, economic and cultural landscapes.” (Amorim Cork Composites)

 Cork Harvesting for Cork Insoles and Cork Hotel Slippers


What we really like about cork - and what caught our eye - is the fact that it’s an entirely natural, regenerative and endlessly recyclable raw material. With the right business model, meaning we provide maximum performance cork inserts and cork hotel slippers while we enable an entirely circular, closed-loop value chain, we are able to scale our impact with every sale of product. Each Primal product sold replaces a non-recyclable alternative. So for each of our Primal Soles sustainable cork insole sold, we divert a synthetic, non-recyclable product from landfill. Same goes for our Primal Cork Hotel Slippers: for each fully recyclable, circular cork hotel slipper sold, we directly divert a non-recyclable alternative from reaching landfill. We collect all (inevitably) used products, grind them up and turn them into the iconic bottom half that has set Primal apart from the traditional players in this archaic and outdated footwear industry. 


Sustainable Cork Insoles and Cork Hotel Slippers


Nature has given us the gift of cork. Primal is now applying cork in the way that is was meant to be applied: by respecting its regenerative capabilities, respecting its CO2 sequestration and biodiversity supporting qualities, and developing fully circular, truly sustainable cork insoles and cork hotel slippers that replace all the single-use, synthetic waste that producers are flooding the market and our natural world with. Let’s step up our responsibility and start walking with maximum comfort and minimal footprint. Let’s start walking on Primal Soles. 

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