Southern California-based footwear brand CLAE is pleased to unveil the Louie, the brand’s first-ever sneaker assembled in Los Angeles. The Louie features elements of comfort crafted with sustainable, vegan knit materials and is made by newly-opened KX Lab, the first technologically advanced knit manufacturing facility in Los Angeles.
The CLAE Louie features a breathable knit upper for lightweight comfort and a secure fit, in addition to CLAE’s signature new Desert Track (DT) sole for durability and support. The upper is crafted from rPET (recycled polyester) yarns, which helps divert used plastic from landfills and oceans while requiring 59% less energy than virgin polyester. Its minimalist, one-piece construction is thoughtfully engineered to eliminate marginal waste and uses significantly fewer adhesives during the assembly process. Recycled components also accompany the Louie, including the shoe box and a 100% recycled Certified Global Standard (GRS) insole.
The partnership with KX Lab offers CLAE a new way to create a more sustainable shoe while enabling the brand to design, develop, and produce products under one roof. This model for local manufacturing brings the consumers, products, and the people that make them closer together. It makes the creative process more efficient, helps diminish inventory waste, and allows for a quicker response to the market. It also provides a more humane, communal, and beautiful environment for everyone involved, especially the craftspeople of KX Lab. The factory’s innovative technologies, such as their automated knitting machines and proprietary assembly process, drastically diminish the dangers and waste commonly associated with traditional footwear factories.
“Partnering with KX Lab to do something locally as opposed to abroad made for better accessibility and communication and added a human element to all aspects of creating this shoe,” says Jim Bartholet, CEO of CLAE. “From design concept to production, our local designers were able to have more face-to-face interactions with the manufacturers, all while using a person-centric approach that values collaboration.”
“CLAE’s longstanding roots in Los Angeles, its less-is-more aesthetic, and commitment to producing shoes more responsibly helped form a great foundation for this partnership,” says Joshua Katz, Co-Founder and CEO of KX Inc. “We’re proud of what we made together and, perhaps just as importantly, how we made it together.”
CLAE’s Louie by KX Lab is available now at www.clae.com in 3 colorways (blue, black, off-white olive), for $180 USD, in men’s whole sizes (7-12).