Protect Our Winter UK Lists Drysure in Top Five Eco Friendly Ski Products

 

Protect Our Winters UK (POW UK) is a passionate crew of diehards, professional athletes and industry brands mobilising the outdoor sports community to lead the charge towards positive climate action in the UK. So it is great to be named as one of the Top 5 Eco Products this Winter as one of our goals was to become recognised as a sustainable way of drying your ski boots. Check out the article below and click on the link at the end to go to the Protect Our Winters UK website to see how you can get involved.

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Top Five Eco Friendly Ski Products This Winter

Do you worry about the environmental impact of your gear?

Do you want to choose eco-friendly brands but don't know which brands to go for?

If you're just getting ready to go out and enjoy some spring skiing then this is a guide you need to read! We've gone out and found five of the best eco-friendly products from this season, so you can look and feel good whilst you're on the mountain.

We all love winter and we all love snow. Our passion for skiing and snowboarding is something that goes beyond a hobby: it’s a way of life. The idea of a snowless winter doesn’t bear thinking about, but the prospect of our winters disappearing completely is a real possibility. Climate change is no longer a political debate discussed solely by bearded environmentalists and politicians in suits - it’s a conversation that is being held on chairlifts and in après ski bars around the world amongst members of the international skiing and snowboarding community.  

In the UK, we're seeing greater measures being taken towards fighting the battle against climate change, particularly within the winter sports industry. More brands than ever before are beginning to think carefully about sustainability and ethical practices, and how we can all help take better care of our planet as the need to take reasonability over our actions – and product purchases – gains momentum. 

Here’s a roundup of five of the best eco-friendly buys this winter season. 

Van Loon Sport Base Layers

Van Loon Sport

Van Loon Sport is an apparel startup who are developing a collection of layers for season 2017/18 manufactured with zero fabric wastage.

As Creative Director of Van Loon Sport Greg Stidolph explains, “almost all clothes are currently made by cutting out shapes from huge sheets of fabric then stitching them together. While great effort is made to minimise wastage, as much as 20% of every square metre can be left unused as off-cuts. When you consider that every inch of that fabric has been sewn, grown, harvested, washed, combed, spun, knitted, finished and delivered before this point, the wastage is much greater than it looks on the factory floor.”

Capitalising on the latest technology in knitting machines, Van Loon Sport are attempting to remove all that wastage from their supply chain, ensuring every length of yarn is used. “The best comparison I can give is that it’s like a 3D printer for clothes” explains Greg. “These machines take in the Merino wool yarn at the top and, via some very smart code & needlework, perfect garment panels come out the other end. It’s such a neat process - I really see this as the next step in ski layers. I hope once we’ve perfected it, the rest of the industry will follow suit and we’ll see a lot more brands manufacturing this way."

The garments launched at Van Loon Sport’s 2017/18 pop-up shop at Mountain Air, Verbier, so if you're in the area, be sure to check them out. "We call ourselves the future of ski clothing: part of that is ensuring skiing actually has a future.”

Learn more about Van Loon Sport online at www.vanloonsport.com

Drysure Boot Dryer

Drysure Infographic

Another startup brand with a progressive mindset is Drysure, who create shoe and boot dryers using a unique design that allows moisture to be absorbed from your damp or sweaty ski boots twelve times faster than regular air drying.

Whilst most ski boot dryers use batteries or electricity, Drysure has no power source and can be reused over and over again, making the product a more sustainable option compared to alternative ski boot dryers that typically require electricity. Drysure comes in two designs: “Active” for low ankle footwear like running or cycling shoes, and “Extreme” for ski and snowboard boots.   

Drysure Extreme can absorb up to 10 days of sweat and moisture before needing to be re-activated, whilst Drysure Active has 7 days - meaning the amount of energy saved creates a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to other ski boot dryers.

Founder of Drysure, James Robbins says, “when developing Drysure, sustainability was a key factor both from a practical side and from an ethical perspective. We all love winter and in creating a product connected with winter sports, it was important to me that Drysure should be sustainable.” In addition to providing a non-electrical solution to footwear drying, the product provides a hygienic benefit by helping to reduce fungal growth.  

For more information about Drysure, visit www.drysure.co

Picture Organic Clothing

Picture Clothing - Snow Jacket - Women - Ticket

Of the more established brands, the new season range from Picture has high recycled fibre content using perfluorinated, chemical-free DWR treatments. In a progressive move, Picture’s factories have all signed an ethical and environmental contract guaranteeing best work practice and wellbeing for their employees - few snowsports clothing companies boast Picture’s environmental and innovation credentials and they are pioneering the way in sustainable skiwear. Founders of Picture, Julien, Jeremy & Vincent say, “When we launched Picture in 2008, sustainable development and conservation of the environment were strong values that we deemed absolutely necessary to bring into the brand.”  They continue, “At that time, we really didn’t know very much about responsible textile manufacturing! But today, our goal is to be fully committed, with a global vision of our products’ lifecycle: design, raw materials, confection, use, 2nd life and end of life.” The new range of Picture Ski Wear is now available in-store and online at Ellis Brigham.  

Discover more at www.picture-organic-clothing.com  

Holmenkol Natural Wax & Recycled Scraper

It’s easy to forget about the lasting impact some products have on the environment and ski wax may not be the first thing that springs to mind.  However, according to the team from Holmenkol Natural Wax, when we ski down the piste, snow crystals scratch at the bottom of our skis and remove small bits of wax.

Holmenkol Natural Wax & Recycled Scraper

Any wax that contains fluorocarbons (hydrophobic additives) will stay in the snow until spring then run off into rivers and lakes, affecting the local ecosystem. Holmenkol have developed a universal biodegradable hot wax bar for all snow types and temperatures that does not use any of these additives and which is fully biodegradable while still fast and long-lasting.

 Ellis Brigham

Their natural wax is available from Ellis Brigham stores and Ellis Brigham also offer their own environmentally friendly scraper made from 100% recycled Greencast acrylic.  

 

You can get both the Holmenkol Natural Wax and Recycled Scraper from Ellis Brigham.

Read more about Holmenkol at www.holmenkol.us 

Mons Royale Checklist Hoody

The final pick for our eco-friendly winter product of the season is NZ-based brand Mons Royale and their Checklist hoody, which itself is warm, comfortable and naturally odour resistant. Engaging merino wool as the main material in their products, the brand is mostly known for making excellent ski and snowboard base layers, but what really makes their work stand out is the factory Mons Royal uses to produce their garments.

Mons Royale Checklist Hoody

The brand employs state of the art tech consisting of the latest German knitting and spinning equipment, with a wool cleaning and combing plant that recycles heat and purifies its water as it goes. Their textile and garment manufacturing plant uses environmentally friendly dyes, and the water used for dyes is processed through a water purification plant to neutralise any chemicals to ensure only clean water goes back into the environment.

Mons Royal products and more information are available online at www.monsroyale.com. You can also get the Mons Royale Checklist Hoody from Ellis Brigham

 

The more we ask questions about the products we admire and invest in, the more brands have to think about sustainability. Start championing the brands that are already making steps to Protect Our Winters in the future.

Whether you're just getting ready to go or are planning for next year, it's never the wrong time to be picking up ski/board gear! If you want some more inspiration for brands that are environmentally sustainable, have a look at our other blog post 6 Eco-Friendly Outerwear Brands You May Not Have Heard About

 

Want your brand featured here? Get in touch via the Contact Us Page!

 

Words by Cameron Hall, Founder of Holmlands, a media and events company with a sense of adventure and proud supporter of Protect Our Winters UK

 

 

POW UK’s mission is to change the narrative on climate change, educating and empowering passionate individuals to take simple and rewarding actions, which will in turn create consumer and corporate pressure for sustainable products and investments.

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Drysure takes to the skies with Flybe

This summer our Founder James Robbins caught up with Flybe Flight Time Magazine, discussing how Drysure is helping to revolutionise foot care for people who enjoy an active lifestyle. 

Read the full interview below and click here to read the e-edition. 

 

5 MINUTES WITH . . . James Robbins

James Robbins, 38 is the Founder of Drysure – an innovative eco-friendly shoe and boot drying product for outdoor sports enthusiasts. 

 

What’s your business background?

I studied business at Durham University in the early 2000’s and worked for a clothing start-up at the same time – which gave me a taste for entrepreneurialism.

Having left university, I entered a graduate scheme at Barclays Wealth, before leaving the corporate world to take on the challenge of running a hotel in Morocco and turning it around. I helped to established Tigmi, Marrakech as one of the leading Yoga hotels in Morocco before returning to the UK as a business consultant; helping start-ups and SME’s develop and grow their business and reconnecting with my entrepreneurial spirit. 

If you had told me 10 years ago I would now be running a footwear drying business, I would never have believed you!

 

Where did the idea for Drysure come from?

I love all sports, but my biggest passion is skiing. Whilst on a family ski holiday in Austria, my ski boots became wet and the thought of putting on soggy boots the next day wasn’t very appealing. My hotel didn’t have boot dryers and I thought there must be a way to solve the problem with a mobile boot dryer but couldn’t find one anywhere. I had the same problem at home when I would go to the gym or go for a run – soggy and sweaty running shoes. It was a common problem my friends seemed to experience too; so the idea of a boot and shoe dryer you could take anywhere developed naturally and out of necessity. If I couldn’t find the product I wanted, I’d make it! 

 

How did you get started?

After having the initial idea, I checked it wasn’t already out there and got the product patented right away. Then I brought in a design team and had some prototypes made. I repeated that process a few times until the design was just right and we had a great looking, practical product that could dry footwear twelve times faster than air drying.

After struggling to find a manufacturer in the UK, I jumped on a plane to China and found a company that could create the product we needed. The first batch then went to market in spring 2016 as a test, before we officially launched at the Ski and Snowboard Show in London later that year. By the end of 2016 we had completely sold out.

Today, we have expanded internationally and ship products all over the world.

 

How long did it take from initial idea to production?

The overall process took two years. Now we are supplying skiers, runners, cyclists, farmers, ice hockey players and every other type of outdoor enthusiast you can image – all over the world!

 

What were the main challenges along the way?

Initially it was tricky to make the idea work. The design must allow enough air to flow through the footwear to dry effectively, whilst at the same time being easy to insert. Once we solved that problem, finding a manufacturer was the next task. The product design is very unique, so we needed to find someone with the right tooling capability and who could produce products at the right price. The final challenge, as I’m sure any start-up will understand, is funding. Drysure was totally self-funded before securing a loan from the Start Up Loans Company – which helped us kick on to the next stage – increasing our product range to more colours.

 

How do you market Drysure?

We primarily use eCommerce, Amazon and a few key retailers. We also have some celebrity fans which has helped us a lot, including Winter Paralympians Millie Knight and Brett Wild, and Olympic Skier Peter Speight. Promoting the brand online and generating PR helps us greatly too.

 

Are sales where you anticipated they would be at this point?

Yes and no! We are very happy with sales considering the difficultly we have had in raising capital. We hardly spend anything on marketing and therefore we rely on word of mouth. If we had funding and the ability to invest in Drysure then sales would be much higher. As it happens we have to re-invest our profits to increase stock to grow.

 

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?

Wow the best is hard…I have three:

  • Keep an eye on the pennies …. start-ups are costly and if you are not careful they will consume the cash too quickly.
  • Make the relationship with your factory as strong as possible. They are part of your start up.
  • Listen to others but also listen to your gut, you are the entrepreneur.

 

Is there anything you would have done differently, with hindsight?

Mistakes are a natural part of business but it’s important to learn from them. There’s nothing I would do differently as the steps we’ve taken have ultimately led to Drysure now being sold in North America, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Europe - which may not have happened without learning from the odd stumble.

 

What are your plans for the future?

We’re keen to grow by creating jobs and hiring great people, expanding our product range to incorporate a wider variety of footwear dryers and accessories, and we are hungry to enter new markets globally. As more and more people are enjoying active lifestyle’s it’s an exciting time to be involved in the action sports industry.

Flybe Flight Time Magazine

Drysure Active Reviewed by MTB LAB

Drysure shoe drying inserts and are meant to be used in footwear overnight to facilitate proper drying and deodorizing. They’ll not only reduce odor and absorb wetness and control bacteria, but they will increase the longevity of shoe since moisture and bacteria wrecks havoc on the materials and construction of them. Unlike other boot dryers that require batteries or a power supply for functionality, the Drysure technology and design need no electricity, making it portable and safe to use anywhere.

To see the review on their website click here or see below - MTB LAB 

Features

Drysure utilizes moisture-absorbing silica oxide beads encased in a breathable bag surrounded by a plastic shell frame that assists with airflow. The bags will absorb moisture for 7-10 uses before needing to be reactivated, which is easily accomplished by placing the units directly in the sun or an oven at around 212°F. Drysure is 12x more effective at drying than normal air drying so use them for your damp footwear in your locker, the back of your vehicle, your gym bag or cycling duffle.

The average person sweats between 3-6ml per boot/shoe per day, and if not dried out it can be a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria such as E.Coli, Meningitis, and Klebsiella. This combination of moisture, heat and your foot along with outside bacteria and the lack of airflow cause these issues. Using the Drysure system will restrict the growth of bacteria and fungi in your footwear by effectively removing moisture.

They make two versions: the Active model (which we tested) retails for $32.73 and is meant for regular low top shoes while the Extreme model retails for $39.29 and was designed for ski boots and high top hiking boots. You can use Drysure for just about any footwear that gets damp or sweaty, including those meant for cycling, running, training, golfing shoes, hiking, work, skiing, etc.

Since the Drysure design requires no plugs, batteries, electricity or heat to operate, you toss them into your footwear for them to work. Since they’re incredibly useful at drying, it only takes 4-6 hours to dry cycling and running shoes, while the taller ski and motorbike boots will need an overnight standing to be completely dry. After complete drying, your shoes will be odor free and dry, with improved hygiene and reduced bacteria and fungal growth issues.

Usage

Remove the Drysure inserts from their PVC pouch and slide them all the way into each of your shoes and leave them in for at least 4-6 hours. If your shoes are exceedingly wet or damp, then let them sit overnight for a complete drying out. The Drysure inserts will begin their work to absorb sweat, moisture, and odor naturally, and when the process is done you’ll have a nice dry and stink free shoe. After 7-10 uses its time to reactivate the silica oxide beads in the main bags. Remove the inner bags from the outer plastic shells and place the bags in direct sunlight or your oven at 100°C or 212°F. When not in use place the Drysure units back into their PVC pouch. With proper care and storage, the Drysure inserts are reusable and will last many years.

Impressions

After a bike ride, I’d jam them into my shoes and let them sit overnight. Supposedly, they’ll dry the shoes in about 4-6 hours, but I never tested that, since I’m not usually riding twice in one day. I have stuck them in my shoes after they got pretty soaked in a rainstorm, though it wasn’t so awful that I had to pour water out of the shoe before using the inserts. The next day the shoes would be dry and odor free, well at least the shoe odor never reached any high level of stinkiness, just a mild freshness. According to their instructions, you are supposed to place the Drysure inserts back into their PVC pouch after usage since I assume they’d absorb the moisture in the air? Due to the extreme dryness of the Colorado air, I sometimes just left them in the shoe until they’d be required again, meaning they always sat in my shoes. The only come in one size, so if you have small feet the plastic frame might be too long to fit into the shoe properly?

Once the drying process no longer becomes useful, which is usually after 7-10 uses, its time for a reactivation. I always just tossed them up onto my trucks dashboard, so they’d get some direct sunlight, and that would put them right back to a full charge. According to the manufacturer, reactivation can be done by three methods (no microwave):

  1. Put bead bag on a warm radiator, under car heater or other heating devices
  2. Leave in direct sunlight
  3. Remove the outer shell and put the bead bags in the oven at 212ºF (100ºC) for 1-2 hours.

I never performed the oven or heater methods, as a good Colorado sunshine will heat up and dry anything.

Besides removing the moisture from my cycling shoes and decreasing the odor, they help increase the longevity of the shoes, at least internally. All that sweat and moisture and bacteria break down the materials and substructure at a faster pace within the shoe, and although the outside might be getting abused, at least the inside fares better.

Bottom Line

The Drysure shoe inserts are a complete portable drying system, that combat moisture and kills odor in your footwear, and prevents the buildup of harmful bacteria and fungi. It uses moisture-absorbing silica oxide bead bag encased in an innovative foot-shaped plastic shell form that easily slides into the shoe. It does a beneficial job of drying and removing odor and can be used multiple times and reactivated when needed by warming in the sun or an oven.

Besides not requiring any heat or electricity to function, they’re safe, were designed to target moisture laden toe and heel areas, will last many years if used correctly and will dry and deodorize your shoes!

Verbier Life Magazine Features Drysure Extreme

Verbier Life Magazine are the latest media outlet to review Drysure, with a feature on our Extreme product published in their April edition. 
At a time in the season when then snow gets a little slushy and feet are more prone to sweating, as temperatures increase. Drysure Extreme is the perfect way to ensure your ski boots stay dry fro that fresh feeling day after day. 
Check out the full review by Verbier Life below and click here to read the full e-edition online:
"Drysure is an eco-friendly boot-and-shoe drying product designed to dry out footwear for people who love outdoor pursuits. It will dry footwear 12 times faster than traditional air-drying, and helps prevent feet against fungi and bacteria. There's no need for batteries or electricity and Drysure can be reused multiple times, so it is great for the environment. Inside each Drysure are specially-designed silica oxide bead bags which target areas like the toe and heel where sweat and moisture builds up. They are designed to absorb up to ten days of sweat or moisture before they need reactivating. This is simply done by leaving the Drysure's on a warm or hot radiator, putting them on a windowsill in direct sunlight or removing the outer shell and popping the bead bags in the oven. Drysure comes in two designs: Drysure Active for running, cycling and golf shoes, and low ankle walking boots; and Drysure Extreme for ski, snowboard, wellington and motorbike boots. For more information, go to www.drysure.co"Drysure in Verbier Life  

Drysure Extreme Reviewed by Fall Line Skiing Magazine

  

This month the team from Fall Line Skiing Magazine took the Drysure Extremes for a road test.

Owner and Publisher, Richard Fincher highlights the benefits of Drysure Extreme as a great go anywhere solution to dry ski boots, walking boots and wellies... 

Click here to read the full review.  

Drysure Key Facts

Review of Drysure Extremes By Open Snow, USA

Drysure has been reviewed by OpenSnow which was created by a team of local weather forecasters who are life-long skiers and riders. This is what they had to say about Drysure:

When you ski or ride a lot of days, your boots will get damp, and they will eventually smell. At least, my boots smelled.

Of course, I tried to prevent this from happening by taking the liners out of the shells and airing them out. And also by plugging in heating devices that I placed in my boots to dry them out. Both of these methods do work, but simply air-drying the liners can take time, and also, I would rarely have my boots in a place that was close to a plug, so using electric heaters wasn’t always convenient.

In January 2018, Drysure emailed me to ask if I could test their non-electric boot dryer. I was intrigued. Damp or smelly boots is not my biggest problem, but if there was a product that would help, and that I didn’t have to plug into an outlet, well, I wanted to know more.

Here’s what they look like:

Here’s how you use them.

1) Place them in your boot. Moisture is absorbed by the Silica Oxide beads.

2) Remove them when you want to ski.

Here’s how they work.

1) The beads absorb moisture, much like the little packets that come in a jar of pills or a box of clothes.

2) After 10 uses, the company recommends that you “re-activate” the beads by placing them on a hot radiator, in direct sunlight, or in an over. I put them in an oven for an hour and that worked nicely.

Dry Drysure in the oven

More details about how to use and reactivate the beads: https://drysure.co/pages/instructions

I look at the Drysure boot dryer as a good maintenance product to use when your boots are damp and need some help drying out and to keep them from smelling.

If your boots are soaked, and you absolutely need them to dry in a short time (8-10 hours, eg. overnight), I would still recommend getting an electric heating device to be sure that your boots are completely dry.

But, for a non-powered product, I think that Drysure does a good job, and it is a worthy addition to my gear list.

Link to the product: https://drysure.co/collections/drysure-boot-dryer/products/drysure-extreme-white-orange

JOEL GRATZ
- Founding meteorologist at OpenSnow.com

Joel is the founding meteorologist of OpenSnow and has lived in Boulder, Colorado since 2003. Before moving to Colorado, he spent his childhood as a (not very fast) ski racer in eastern Pennsylvania.