Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
HENDERSON, Nev. – Nov. 16, 2021 – Today, a new generation of sustainable hiking boots launches from a father-and-son founding team of environmental footwear innovators: Erem is the first outdoor brand designed from the ground up for desert performance.
Co-founder Noah Swartz is a fourth-generation shoemaker who wanted to create a better boot made with exacting environmental standards for desert landscapes and climates. His father and co-founder, Jeff Swartz, was the president and CEO of Timberland, a footwear company that Jeff’s grandfather Nathan — Noah’s great grandfather — had started decades before. Jeff grew up in the family business, working summers in the factory for his uncle and his dad, Sidney— Noah’s grandfather —who is also an investor in Erem. Jeff led Timberland for more than a decade as CEO before selling the business in 2011 to VF Corp.
After decades building an iconic brand in the outdoor industry, Jeff thought he had hung up his boots for good. But when his 28-year-old son Noah approached him with the idea for Erem and the chance to set a new standard for how a brand can positively impact people, place, and planet, he embraced the challenge and opportunity.
“My grandfather, Nathan, taught me responsibility and modeled resilience and courage. My dad, Sidney, taught me how to dream and what determination is. But it’s my son Noah who is teaching me how to stretch imagination and deliver on our ideals. Took four generations, but we are getting somewhere with the launch of Erem,” said Jeff Swartz.
While most men’s hiking boots and women’s hiking boots today are made by thermo fusing plastics together and end up sitting as trash in a landfill for millennia, Erem’s sustainable hiking boots are Biocircular™, meaning they only uses materials with 100% proven paths back to nature and can be re-streamed at the end of their useful life by Erem into new products. Erem aims to further minimize its carbon and resource footprint by incentivizing customers to extend the life of their boots through the Erem Reboot repair program.
Erem takes responsibility for the entire lifecycle of its eco-friendly hiking boots because the Swartz family believes performance gear made for enjoying the planet should not harm the planet. Erem invites other footwear brands to follow their newly forged path, offering to readily share their product ingredient lists and their suppliers.
By prioritizing breathability, durability, and protection, Erem delivers the performance and comfort needed for adventurers, explorers, and seekers to fully immerse themselves in the desert.
“The vast beauty and extremes of the desert have and always will draw people eager to explore and adventure, which is why I believe that the desert demands and deserves its own gear,” said Noah Swartz. “For this gear to live up to its task, it must provide best-in-class performance and fully channel desert values. This is what Erem is all about.”
The Erem collection is launching with the men’s and women’s Xerocole (pronounced Zee-ra-kohl) and Xerocole Expedition boots, named after animals that are adapted to thrive in desert environments. Xerocole collection uppers feature reverse, full-grain leather and brass hardware for durability, moisture-wicking, TENCEL lyocell canvas paneling and lining for breathability, and a contoured, shock-absorbing, cork insole for all-day comfort and long-term foot health. A gusseted tongue and padded collar keep out rocks and debris while a full length wood-fiber shank board provides torsional support and underfoot protection. The biodegradable, fully reusable, one-piece outsole is made of 70% recycled rubber, is stitched to the upper using welt-grade linen thread to avoid delamination and enable repairs, and features deep, 6-mm lugs for steady grip and traction.
Erem has partnered with leading nonprofits such as the Savory Institute to source the most regenerative and sustainable materials on earth. Erem is also the first footwear company to partner with Toxnot, an industry-leading, third-party technology company, in order to improve environmental compliance and transparency in the company’s supply chain.
Consistent with its world positive mission, Erem is focused on harnessing the desert’s potential to solve the planet’s largest and most pressing problems. The earth’s landmass is almost 30% desert. The desert is home to almost 20% of the global population. Both the size of the desert and number of desert dwellers are fast increasing.
“We believe desert problems are global problems, and desert solutions are global solutions” Noah said. “This is why Erem has committed to planting 1 million prickly pear cacti.”
Valued by indigenous cultures in the Sonoran Desert for millennia, prickly pears are fast-growing, water-efficient plants with the potential to capture billions of pounds of carbon dioxide, produce millions of pounds of fruit, and restore dehydrated rivers. Erem has already planted 250 prickly pears and will use proceeds from the purchase of every product to plant more, as outlined in this prickly pear video, to help transform desert agriculture and global food systems.
Founded in 2021 by a father-and-son team of environmental footwear innovators, Erem is the first outdoor brand focused on desert performance. Launching with Biocircular™ desert hiking boots, Erem’s Xerocole collection uses only materials with 100% proven paths back to nature; the company also incentivizes customers to return products to be repaired or restreamed into new uses. Erem believes that performance gear made for enjoying the planet should not harm the planet, and so is on a mission to raise the sustainability standard for outdoor products. The name “Erem,” pronounced Eh-rem, is an acronym adapted from the ancient Greek word for desert that stands for Exceptional, Responsible, Enduring, and Motivated. This is the company’s product promise and brand philosophy. To learn more, visit eremlife.com.