While Nike has cornered the Air market for nearly 50 years, a new sneaker startup has emerged with its eye on another of the earth’s elements for its cushioning.
Water is captured and sits underfoot for the Hydronaut, the debut sneaker from Hygra featuring what it calls H2PrO technology. A non-pressurized water capsule provides cushioning while sitting inside a Bloom foam midsole made with an algae-based material instead of petroleum-based EVA. Not only does this reduce the shoe’s environmental impact, but it’s also just the start of the sneaker’s connection with the ocean, as the upper makes use of recycled ocean plastics much like Adidas does with its Parley products.
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“After five years of self-funding, this shoe symbolizes that you can do anything,” Hygra founder Eulexis Anderson said in a press release. “If you can walk on water then you’ve already achieved the impossible, and needless to say, the feeling of walking in this shoe every day makes me feel unstoppable with every single step. Essentially, the Hydronaut is entirely crafted from the very oceans that make up our planet and protects ocean life in the process. Every step in the Hydronaut is a stride towards a cleaner, greener future.”
Development for the Hydronaut began in earnest in 2021, when Hygra began working with a designer and engineer to bring its water-based cushioning to life. The company says that, while the average sneaker can endure 50,000 flexes before failure, its Hydronaut has undergone the same motion 250,000 times without any signs of breaking down.
The Hygra Hydronaut will make its public debut through a crowdfunding campaign that began Tuesday and runs for 30 days with a goal of $25,000. Those who participate in the Kickstarter campaign will be able to get the sneaker in either “Desert Oasis” or “Vanilla Glacier” colorways to be delivered in spring 2024 for a discounted price of $225. A third “Midnight storm” colorway is also in development, and Hydra is planning a full rollout for the shoe in the spring. Sizing is available exclusively from a men’s size 7 through 13 without any half sizes.
About the Author:
Ian Servantes is a Senior Trending News Editor for Footwear News specializing in sneaker coverage. He’s previously reported on streetwear and sneakers at Input and Highsnobiety after beginning his career on the pop culture beat. He subscribes to the idea that “ball is life” and doesn’t fuss over his kicks getting dirty.
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