We are very excited to announce the new and special material debuting in the MUKISHOES Fall/Winter collection – Cork!
This is such a unique material that mankind has not been able to mimic its properties artificially yet.
Cork is a 100% natural and has a unique set of properties. It is lightweight, since more than half of its volume consists of air, as well as elastic and soft to the touch. It is also water resistant, static resistant and works fantastically for thermic insulation.
The life cycle of cork starts with its extraction. This process, which consists of removing the bark from cork oaks, is done manually and with excellent care to avoid damaging the oak or its surroundings.
It takes 25 years for a Cork Oak to start producing Cork. From that moment on, extraction can be performed every 9 years and the cycle can last up to 150 years! The tree can last up to 300 years, however, due to its incredible ability to regenerate.
Cork is quite a unique case among tree bark, as it protects the trees from Winter’s low temperatures as well as Mediterranean Summer’s fires. It is the Cork that protects the inner parts of the tree and allows it to regenerate for generations to come.
The Cork Forest is a Manmade ecosystem that is typically found in Alentejo. It is a group of Cork Trees that houses over 180 bird species, as well as 24 kinds of reptiles and amphibians and 37 mammals.
It is also home to various highly endangered species such as the Iberian Lynx, Earth’s most endangered feline, Bonelli’s Eagle, the Iberian Imperial Eagle and the Black Stork.
In Portugal, the country with the world’s largest Cork Tree area (33% of the world’s total), the Cork Forest is protected by law, and it is illegal to cut the trees, though the exploration is encouraged. Portugal is thus the main source of Cork in the world.
For these and other reasons, it is was only logical to make Cork a part of the MUKISHOES journey, as we are a brand that prioritizes the use of local and naturally sourced materials.
After a long year of testing, we are now ready to introduce BLACK CORK 🙂
For those interested in learning more about this incredible and precious ecosystem, we recommend watching the BBC documentary “Creatures in the Cork Forest” (in the link) below.