Stepping into Sustainable Comfort

An enduring desire for comfort has led post-pandemic trends in footwear – and for Twisted X®, that means staying rooted to its mission of creating sturdy yet satisfying shoes with an added dose of sustainably-focused acumen.

Twisted X, a Texas-based footwear brand that leads with the promise of unmatched comfort, blends its CellStretch® comfort technology with sustainable materials and practices across its collections.

To further its greening efforts, Twisted X expanded its eco-fabric (ecoTWX®) collection, which is fabric spun from recycled plastic bottles, and now uses a variation of it for its shoe lining (ecoTWEED™), enabling the brand to migrate from nylon lining to a 50/50 ecoTWEED™ and bamboo charcoal blend that is more breathable, moisture resistant, antibacterial and odor-absorbing, as well as softer.

Another sustainably made standout item is its Blend85™ footbeds, which leverage at least 85 percent of upcycled factory waste and reincarnate it into a more comfortable footbed as compared to its previous footbeds, the brand said.

Prasad Reddy, President and Chief Executive Officer at Twisted X, told FN that “as a migration of generations move out of athletic footwear into work or light work/light duty, consumers are becoming increasingly eager for the same level of comfort and features they have grown up loving.”

Reddy added that the brand is also seeing sustainability become, and continue to be, more embraced across the footwear industry – particularly in the outdoor category.

“Sustainable materials and practices are becoming more prevalent as our target audiences are getting younger and more self-aware with the desire to better the planet, including our core western audience who desires to stays true to the earth as they live and love the land (literally). We anticipate seeing the hunting and outdoor footwear space increase its sustainability angle as well.”

Here, Reddy talks to FN about the brand’s dynamism for sustainability, its Zero-X™ collection, and why Twisted X is wholly distinctive in the footwear segment.

Fairchild Studio: What is distinctive about Twisted X’s approach to sustainability?

Prasad Reddy: Sustainability is the backbone of Twisted X and is one of our four core pillars: Product, Planet, Philanthropy, and Partnership. We feel that it’s our responsibility as individuals to do something, otherwise what kind of planet would we leave behind for future generations? It’s not just based on us doing something good just to say we did it, it’s that we must do something before it turns disastrous. So, that’s why we’re keeping sustainability at the forefront of our minds in all aspects of our business and carefully selecting those products and materials.

Sustainability comes second nature to us and is fully engrained in our brand DNA. From creating new eco-friendly materials to exploring new techniques for construction, Twisted X holistically evaluates every step of our process to continue to create environmentally responsible materials and production processes without compromising quality and performance.

Twisted X has committed to taking small steps to make a big difference throughout our operations. In 2020, we became carbon neutral in our headquarters, along with our global factories, our distribution, and our shipping. Because of our commitment to sustainability, we hired a Sustainability Strategist, whose job function is to set, measure and report on metrics to quantify our efforts. In addition, we have committed that in 2022 100% of our footwear production will have at least one sustainable component.

At the Twisted X corporate offices, we practice what we preach. Our offices are single-use plastic free, utilize motion sensor lights to preserve energy consumption, provide filtered water refill stations and ample recycling, and even offer interest-free loans to employees that purchase electric vehicles.

Our core goal is to help every person get involved in our mission to benefit the environment. When more people support, we can make a huge difference. As an individual, or as a company, we make an impact, but if we have millions alongside us, we will make a huge impact. We’re happy to see more people getting involved, and we hope to see more companies and businesses doing the same.

Prasad Reddy, President and Chief Executive Officer at Twisted X

Fairchild Studio: How does Twisted X source and select materials?

P.R.: We look to nature for inspiration when it comes to using eco-friendly materials in our products. Twisted X currently uses natural materials such as merino wool, cork, molasses, bamboo, and rice husk in our footwear to create a more holistic product.

We have found that leveraging sustainable materials for different parts of the footwear makes for better footwear – but even beyond our shoes, Twisted X makes a conscious effort to ensure, when we print, our catalogs and printed materials utilize soy-based ink, recycled paper, and small batch printing to prevent overproduction and waste. We are also proud to say our shoe boxes are made from 85 percent recycled materials and are recyclable.

Fairchild Studio: Tell us about the Zero-X shoe. Why is it a standout product?

P.R.: Our Zero-X™ collection was first announced in 2020 and made available in 2021 as we sought to revolutionize the way footwear was constructed. Three years in the making, Zero-X is the first collection of footwear created without the use of chemical adhesives, eliminating harmful toxins and high-energy production processes, furthering our promise to protect the planet.

The Zero-X collection utilizes a proprietary interlocking, double-stitching construction system, eliminating 75 percent of the harsh environmental issues created with traditional footwear. The lack of harsh chemical adhesives, scoring dust, debris and the elimination of heating and cooling production energy all add to the mass of eco-forward benefits of Zero-X.

Twisted X is proud to be on the forefront of this initiative, removing such harmful processes from our factories and environment. When we were challenged and told during our design phase that we had to have a little glue on the footbed and shoe lining, we kept trying and worked to ensure this no-glue shoe means no glue – not even one drop.

The collection is light and breathable and features ecoTWX® uppers, created from an average of 13 recycled plastic bottles salvaged from oceans and landfills, outsoles incorporating rice husks, an agricultural by-product, bamboo laces, and sustainable comfort from the BioBlend™ internal midsole, made with castor bean oil. Furthermore, a tree is planted with every pair sold thanks to our partnership with One Tree Planted®.

Fairchild Studio: How does the Twisted X brand/aesthetic differentiate in the footwear segment?

P.R.: Twisted X was born from the desire for comfortable, quality, and innovative footwear and provided an opportunity to change the western industry. Today, with our rebellious and relentless drive for creating uncompromised innovations in comfort and sustainability, Twisted X has created an extensive range of styles for the lifestyle, outdoor, work, and western markets, while still honoring our western roots and heritage.

Our cutting-edge comfort technologies and environmentally friendly mindset set us apart in the industry, allowing us to constantly create new and innovative products. We have an unparalleled focus on design that allows us to consistently develop innovative footwear styles and we pride ourselves on creating high-quality products that our customers love.

Fairchild Studio: What’s next for Twisted X?

P.R.: I’m so incredibly proud of our Twisted X team for the hard work everyone has put in to navigate all the challenges of the last few years. We have the best team in the industry, and quite a few of our industry peers have made comments on our incredible progression over the past few years.

Twisted X is continuing to raise the bar through innovation in manufacturing, shipping, creating materials and production. We’ve got some exciting new launches coming up including a collaboration with renowned Texas artist and philanthropist, Olivia Bennett, to introduce a new collection coming to market in 2022 with a focus on sustainability, innovation, and Twisted X’s philosophy to be humble and kind. In 2021 Twisted X forged a licensing agreement with Wrangler to design, manufacture and distribute Wrangler Footwear.

To further those efforts, Twisted X is excited to announce that we will be bringing to market a commemorative collection in collaboration with Wrangler to celebrate its 75th Anniversary. Each of these collections are made with sustainability at the forefront and ladder up to our master effort of having every pair of Twisted X footwear produced in 2022 and beyond include at least one sustainability element.

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