IWTO Meet Ingrid Brandth and discuss the ALFA wool shoeDesigner Ingrid Brandth recently won the Scandinavian Outdoor Award for her innovative new boot design, the Stad. Here’s what she told the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) about the origins of her creation.

The Award-Winning Stad Boot

The Stad boot is a collaboration between two Norwegian brands. Alfa is a well-established footwear brand and Gudbransdalen Uldvarefabrikk (GU) is a manufacturer of upholstery fabric made with high-quality wool from New Zealand and Norway. The boot’s upper and lining are woven with durable Norwegian wool that is more durable than felted wool, which is the usual choice for this type of work. The use of woven wool, rather than felted wool, is one of the Stad’s more innovative design elements. Brandth reveals that this decision arose primarily from practical concerns and the results of rigorous testing during the prototype phase.

“The quality that turned out to be the most suited for shoes was a woven fabric made of wool from a local breed of sheep. The woven wool is more durable than purely felted fabrics because the wool fibres are twisted to make yarns, then woven together. If you get a hole in your woven fabric, it can easily be repaired and mended, like a sock,” Brandth explains.

Although Alfa is primarily known as an outdoor brand, the Stad was intended for the urban consumer. “The shoes should be as relevant in the cities as the countryside, a great choice both for walking through the city or for a trip to the cabin,” Brandth says.

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A Boot That Wins Hearts

According to the Outdoor jury, this boot “looks and performs great and won every jury member’s heart.” Brandth believes that it is the Stad’s simplicity and timelessness that makes it so appealing. The Stad’s story is deeply rooted in Norwegian design heritage, she explains. In addition, “Wool has excellent temperature regulation and high warmth and weight ratio which is hard to find on the market today. The material is locally soured, quality, sustainable and the welfare of the animals it comes from is also crucial.”

Alfa and Brandth have their sights set on progressive designs that take footwear forward. As Brandth enjoys the current success of the Stad, she is also looking far into the future. What does she think shoes will look like, by 2050?

“Design keeps reinventing itself. Much of the design presented today draws inspiration from the past. I believe newness will show in construction methods and machinery. I think we are moving towards a simplified production process of shoes. New sustainable materials will be developed, and technology will evolve. These changes will also influence the look of shoes in 2050.”

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