The Brazilian company, which is already one of the largest suppliers of certain footwear components on a global basis, has launched a rather unique collection of tongs made with eco-friendly materials. They also offer a high degree of comfort and designs and colors that remind of the Amazonas rainforest.

Amazonas has already been making standard rubber tongs on a private label basis for various firms including Yes Brazil, Calvin Klein or Takaway in Italy. Its production of these items reached 3.2 million pairs in 2010 and is set to double in 2011.

Made at a different facility, the tongs now being offered under its own brand are very different. They don't use unrecycled natural rubber, whose cost has risen sharply due to shortages of the material. They are not made of synthetic rubber, which can pollute the environment for up to 700 years.

An eco rubber range is made from ecologically sustainable materials including rubber recycled from scrap tyres and old shoe soles, among other materials, as well as recyclable and biodegradable rubbers. Instead of using natural rubber, up to 60 percent of the rubber used in the process is recycled.

Another range uses a type of vulcanized biodegradable rubber that will be completely absorbed by the environment within five years. Described as the only kind of biodegradable rubber in the world, it is broken down in such a way that its carbons can be used again by living organisms.

Another range of Amazonas sandals makes use of expanded rubber.

Amazonas has assigned Ghetz Footwear, based in London, as its official distributor for many major markets in Europe, except Spain and Portugal, which are handled by a Spanish firm, Solan Co. C.L. Ghetz, which has also a subsidiary in the U.S., will also handle other continents. It has also an option on the U.S. market.

The first line of Amazonas sandals has received a very warm welcome at various fairs including the FN Platform at Magic in Las Vegas and the GDS in Düsseldorf. It will also be presented at Micam in Milan this weekend.

Based on the initial response in Italy, the U.S. and other countries, Ghetz feels that the line will generate even more business than the line of Anatomic Gel comfort shoes that it already distributes in Europe or other Brazilian footwear lines that it sells in various countries such as Piccadilly and West Coast.

Founded in Francal in 1947 as a manufacturer of vulcanized rubber heels and soles, Amazonas has developed into a major factor worldwide in soles and adhesives, among other products. It has about 3,000 employees and it recently entered the Argentine market. As a group, its total sales are expected to increase to over $420 million this year.