Taking lightweight sneakers to a new extreme, Unbelievable Testing Laboratories (UTL) is making 5.3-ounce shoes (men’s size 11) from Tyvek. Tyvek, which is made by Dupont, looks and feels kinda like paper, but it’s actually flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers. Ever shipped stuff in a Fedex envelope or peeled back the siding of your 1960s-era house to see a layer of white? That’s the stuff. It’s waterproof, highly breathable, durable, and strong—which UTL believes makes it a prime candidate for footwear. It’s also machine washable and dryable.
But it’s not all Tyvek. The paperlike upper is attached to a foamy sole that the company says is twice as durable and even lighter than previous versions. And the shoe has a moisture-absorbing, breathable anti-stink POLIYOU footbed. According to UTL, the final package looks like a sneaker and feels like wearing a high quality cross-trainer, albeit a very light one.
After 20 rounds of prototyping, UTL says it’s ready for production. Its Kickstarter campaign hopes to make 2013 pairs of its Limited Edition shoe. Available August 2013, $68.