Salomon's running shoe can be recycled into a ski boot
Pound the pavement long and hard enough in any pair of running shoes and you’ll reduce them to a flapping mess of rubber bound for the waste bin, but Salomon has grander plans for its latest footwear. The company’s latest concept running shoe is designed to be given a second life as a ski boot, with the team carefully designing the sneaker from the ground up for maximum recyclability.
The mix of materials that make up your typical running shoe, like polyesters, rubbers, glues and stitching, make it next to impossible to recycle in its entirety. Salomon's solution was to produce its recyclable running shoe using 100 percent thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
This material was used to produce both the bottom and upper layers of the shoe, allowing the entire thing to be ground down into tiny pieces. These granules of old TPU are then mixed with new ones and fed through an injection molding machine to make the shell of a Salomon ski boot.
The company says none of this compromises the performance of the running shoe, with its engineers using an extremely lightweight and breathable kind of TPU for the upper layer, and a highly cushioned bottom layer for support underneath.
“We recognize that we have to do better for the environment by creating Salomon footwear that drastically reduces its impact on the planet,” says Guillaume Meyzenq, VP of Salomon Footwear. “By creating this concept shoe that can be recycled into a ski boot shell, we are showing that it is possible to find alternative materials to create performance footwear. It’s an exciting development that will help lead us to more sustainable footwear solutions in the future.”
First revealed last month, Salomon’s recyclable running shoe is up for an innovation award at January’s Outdoor Retailer show in Denver Colorado. It hopes to offer the shoe to consumers in 2021, while you can hear more from those involved in the video below.