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Blog > News
22.09.2021

Cactus Leather: What is it and What Are the Benefits?

Cactus leather is a form of vegan leather alternative to traditional leather. Discover what cactus leather is, how it is made, and what its benefits are. At Giesswein, we’re inspired by this material and so we've made a stylish and comfortable animal-free sneaker.

Table of Contents:

What is Cactus Leather?

How is Cactus Leather Made?

6 Benefits of Cactus Leather

Vegan & Sustainable Cactus Leather Sneaker

What is Cactus Leather?

Cactus leather is made from dried cactus leaves and exists as an alternative to traditional leather. It is made from cactus plants called pear cactus, and is a vegan, sustainable substitute to traditional leather. The development of these vegan materials makes it even easier to avoid the use of animal products and find sustainable materials for products such as  ethical shoes

Traditional leather is made from animal hide. Hide is the skin of animals, usually cattle, like cows, and reptiles, like snakes or crocodiles. Leather is a traditional material used to make all kinds of products like boots, bags, and car interiors. It works well for these products because it is durable and naturally water resistant. However, traditional leather requires large amounts of chemicals and energy to become a fabric. The good news is, there are alternatives.

Cactus leather is a leather substitute that is not made by harming any animal nor does it feature any animal product. It was first made from pear cactus leaves by Mexican company Desserto. This vegan leather is low-impact and low-maintenance. The resulting cactus leather is organic and partially biodegradable. It makes a breathable material, as soft as leather, and doesn't need animals to be made. We think it is absolutely perfect for making  eco-friendly shoes.

How is Cactus Leather Made?

  • Step 1: Cactus leather is made using the plant pear cactus. 
  • Step 2: These cactus leaves are harvested and cleaned. Only the mature leaves are used. Leaving the rest of the cactus undamaged to keep growing for future harvesting.
  • Step 3: The now clean leaves are mashed.
  • Step 4: This mashed mixture is dried. This doesn’t need any extra energy because the sun is used to naturally dry.
  • Step 5: The dry, mashed pear cactus mixture is coloured using natural dyes, and processed to become the fabric you see as cactus leather.
  • Step 6: This cactus material is then used to make products made usually from leather, such as men’s vegan sneakers. 

That is how our Mexican plantation partner,  Desserto, makes their cactus leather. 

cactus leather sneakers can go with any outfit

6 Benefits of Cactus Leather

Cactus leather has so many extraordinary benefits that you may not be familiar with. As a relatively new leather alternative, it is not a household name yet, but the benefits to be reaped could be essential to the products of the future. The most obvious being that it does not cause harm to animals. There are other benefits to using vegan leathers, and cactus leather in particular. A few of these cactus leather benefits include:

  1. Avoids harm to animals - Cactus leather doesn’t use animals or animal products in any step of its process.
  2. Requires less water than leather - Cactus leather is made from plants which thrive in naturally dry conditions and don’t need to be irrigated.
  3. Requires less land than leather - Cacti can grow in areas which are unsuitable for other plants, so no space is needlessly taken up by the crop.
  4. Made from a sustainable raw material - To make cactus leather the plants can regrow their leaves for 8 years. So one plant can create a long lifetime of cactus leather. Only three leaves are needed to make approximately one metre of cactus leather.
  5. End product is partially biodegradable - Cactus leather is made from a natural raw material. 
  6. Produces fewer greenhouse gases - Leather requires large amounts of energy to be processed and tanned which produce chemicals and greenhouse gases. Cactus plants actually absorb greenhouse gases which reduces the amounts of these harmful gases in the air.

All these amazing benefits of cactus leather make it a great material for use in products such as  sustainable shoes. Such as car seats, handbags, and even shoes like women’s vegan trainers. 

cactus leather makes our vegan sneakers comfortable and temperature-regulating

Vegan & Sustainable Cactus Leather Sneaker 

At Giesswein, we are inspired by cactus leather and the benefits it has. As part of our  Green Strategy, we want to take a look at the impact we have, and use low impact materials in our products. That’s why we’ve developed the  Cactus Sneaker. A vegan leather shoe with all the comfortable benefits of leather, without the use of animals. With our vegan cactus sneaker you can experience comfort down to the finest details. Some of the great comfort benefits of the  men’s cactus sneaker and the  women’s cactus sneaker include:

With a breathable organic cotton footbed you can cushion your feet all day long. You can even swap out the footbed to add an  arch support footbed for unparalleled comfort. This sneaker is the ideal companion for a day walking in the city, or popping to the shops. With a strip of colour on the heel, these  shoes go with everything

With a breathable and temperature-regulating design, this sneaker is ideal for wearing as a  summer trainer. It’s also just as cosy in the colder weather as your favourite  winter trainers. With cactus leather, your feet will be comfortable all year round. The best part about the cactus sneaker is that it is vegan and made with sustainable, renewable pear cactus. That way, your feet are comfortable while the planet is better off for it.  

Giesswein Footwear

Giesswein are a third-generation family business concerned with sustainability at every stage of our comfortable footwear. Specializing in  men’s slipperswomen’s slippers and  kids’ slippers, the whole family can be cosy all year round. For days on the go,  men’s trainers and  women’s trainers are a stylish way to have comfortable feet no matter the occasion.