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Salomon’s new recyclable running shoe promotes sustainability

Salomon has created a shoe that can be recycled and made into ski boots

Salomon creates many products, like trail running shoes, alpine skiing equipment, cross-country skiing gear and general exercise clothing. Now, the company is becoming more eco-friendly by combining two of their products to create a running shoe that can be recycled into a ski boot.

Dedication to sustainability

Salomon has pledged to reduce their carbon emissions by 30 per cent by the year 2030. The recyclable shoe took 18 months of research and development, but it is finally ready as part of its Play Minded Program, which addresses Salomon’s commitment to operating more sustainably.

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The Play Minded Program has four key focuses: protecting nature, where outdoor sports are performed, producing more sustainable Salomon gear, educating members of the outdoor sports community on sustainability and, finally, taking care of people around the world who create Salomon products.

How it’s made

Business Insider looked at Salomon’s shoe-to-boot plan, which will eliminate the need to throw out old, used shoes. Every year, millions and millions of tons of clothing and footwear waste is produced in just North America. An extremely small percentage of that waste is recycled. Salomon hopes to change that by changing the materials they use to make their shoes.

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Regular shoes are made from rubber, plastic and other materials which are not recyclable. Salomon’s new shoe will be made of only one material: thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). TPU is a light, durable plasticwhich is essential for running shoesand it can also be reshaped when heated, a necessary feature for a shoe that becomes a ski boot. 

Ben Gibbard
Photo: Salomon Running.

When customers are done with their shoes, instead of throwing them out, they return them. Then, the shoes will be ground up into bits of TPU. From there, the old shoe is mixed with new TPU and turned into a ski boot. Salomon says that 20 to 50 per cent of each boot will be recycled TPU.

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Salomon expects their recyclable shoe to be on the market by 2021.