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Blog > News
22.09.2021

Pear Cactus: What Is It, Uses & Benefits

Pear cactus is a type of cactus that grows in dry climates. Pear cactus is often known as ‘prickly pear cactus’. It makes a low-impact, vegan leather alternative which we use to sustainably craft stylish sneakers. Find out what it is and how it is used to make cactus leather. Learn how Giesswein use pear cactus to make breathable and comfortable shoes. 

Table of Contents:

What is Pear Cactus?

What is Pear Cactus Used For?

6 Eco-Friendly Benefits of Cactus Leather

Vegan & Sustainable Sneakers

How Does Vegan Leather Differ from Eucalyptus Fibres & Merino Wool?

What is Pear Cactus?

Pear cactus, also known as Opuntia, is a type of cactus that can grow in shallow, loose soil. Often found in inhospitable soil such as the slopes of mountains. It grows mostly in shrub form, with distinctive oval segments. This pear cactus can be used to make materials which have similar look and properties as leather. 

What is Pear Cactus Used For?

Pear cactus is used to make cactus leather. This leather alternative is vegan and is also a low impact material. This vegan leather can be used to make products often made from leather like men’s vegan sneakers. 

Vegan leather is made by harvesting and cleaning pear cactus leaves. Then mashing, and drying them before processing. This is then coloured using natural dyes. This becomes the fabric you see as cactus leather, such as for women’s vegan sneakers.

This process requires very little energy. The sun dries the leaves without any extra heating. The pear cactus plants also grow in harsh conditions without the need for irrigation. The natural rainwater will look after them just fine! Using pear cactus to make leather alternatives is a great way to reduce impact on the planet. In Mexico, the innovative team behind  Desserto are doing exactly that.

pear cactus make an alternative to traditional leather

6 Eco-Friendly Benefits of Cactus Leather 

Products made from pear cactus, such as  sustainable shoes, have all the benefits of leather without the use of animals. Unlike traditional leather, vegan pear cactus leather is a lot more planet-friendly. Traditional leather is a material made from animal hide. This is the skin of animals, usually cattle and reptiles like snakes or crocodiles. Leather requires large amounts of chemicals and energy to be made into a fabric. Vegan leather cuts out these processes to make eco-friendly products such as  ethical shoes.

Only the mature leaves of the pear cactus are used, leaving the plant itself undamaged. This means the plant can continue to grow more leaves for future harvesting. Each time a cactus is planted to be used in this way, it will continue for around 8 years. This means cactus leather is a sustainable process. Just like our  Wood Sneaker made from  sustainable eucalyptus fibres

There are many benefits to using pear cactus. One, of course, is that it uses no animals in production. There are other benefits to using cactus leather. A few of these pear cactus leather benefits include:

  1. Avoids harm to animals
  2. Requires less water than leather
  3. Requires less land than leather
  4. Is made from a sustainable raw material
  5. End product is partially biodegradable
  6. Produces fewer greenhouse gases

All these amazing benefits make cactus leather a great material. It is being used in products usually made from traditional leather. Such as car seats, handbags, and even shoes like  casual sneakers

Vegan & Sustainable Sneakers

At Giesswein, we are using pear cactus as part of our  Green Strategy to assess the impact we have on the planet. Using pear cactus to create a 100% vegan cactus sneaker is one of the ways we’re doing it. We’ve vowed to use only  mulesing-free wool from  merino sheep to align with our values for animal welfare. 

Introducing the  Cactus Sneaker

Made from pear cactus leather, this stylish sneaker provides extreme comfort all day long. This flexible,  breathable sneaker is ideal for a day shopping or exploring the big city. Our vegan shoe is a  minimalist sneaker, designed to pair with any occasion. With a stylish swipe of colour on the heel, you can coordinate with your favourite outfit. These are a few more of the amazing properties of our Cactus Sneaker:

With its light and breathable design, this is the perfect  summer shoe. Its temperature-regulating build keeps your feet warm and comfortable like with  winter trainers. These temperature-regulating benefits are also found in our footwear made with  Merino wool

We’ve used a natural rubber sole to provide  slip-resistant sneakers that keep you stable on your feet. You can even add an  arch support insole to maximise the cushioning on your feet. This vegan pear Cactus Sneaker is the ideal white sneaker for any occasion. 

experience ultimate comfort with our vegan sneakers made from pear cactus

How Does Vegan Leather Differ from Eucalyptus Fibres & Merino Wool?

While many of the same benefits of leather material made from pear cactus are the same in our shoes made from eucalyptus fibres and merino wool, there are some differences. 

Pear cactus leather has the benefit of being more eco-friendly than traditional leather. It also is a sustainable raw material that produces a partially biodegradable final product. Eucalyptus fibres are harvested from fast-growing trees which regenerate faster than they are used. The fibres are biodegradable and compostable. Just like pear cactus, the eucalyptus doesn't need any extra watering. Eucalyptus fibres make a sneaker with the same temperature-regulating properties as the vegan sneaker, with a breathable and durable design. The added benefit of the Wood Sneaker is its  antibacterial and  moisture-wicking qualities - meaning odours don’t stick around either. 

When compared with merino wool, the finer and softer of the  wool types, the Cactus Sneaker has a few differences. Number one being it is vegan friendly. We only use merino wool from farms with mulesing-free policies that look after their sheep. Yet, some vegans may not use wool products. Our sneakers made from merino wool are machine washable. This means you can  wash merino wool when it needs a refresh. Our wool trainers also enjoy antibacterial and odour-minimising properties. This means your  merino wool shoes don’t smell. Merino wool is still a sustainable, renewable fibre that biodegrades and makes long-lasting, comfortable footwear.

Giesswein’s Comfortable Footwear

Giesswein is 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.