Bolt Threads is looking to make cowhide leather obsolete with its new synthetic material made from fungus. The material is made of mycelium, the root structure of fungi, which is manufactured and manipulated to appear and feel like real leather. The material is created as the mycelium extends and grows until Bolt Threads can cut it into slices and treat it in a process that is not dissimilar to how animal hides are tanned.
This is the second unique material by Bolt Thread, as the company is also known for a polymer bioengineered to mimic spider silk. However, unlike the polymer material, this new mycelium-based leather is fully biodegradable and incredibly sustainable. The process of growing the material is also low-impact and is less damaging than existing leather production facilities.