Exploring Ways in Which Sneaker Brands Can Approach Production Sustainably | A Research Paper
Derek Benedict Advanced Research Seminar Fall 2018
Designer Statement:(Derek’s design style is sparked by a competitive mindset. Rooted in the crossroads of performance and empathy, his designs often aim to challenge behavioral tendencies and uses competition to make the experience fun.)
Through material research, the paper examines ways in which sneaker brands can approach production sustainably. The bulk of the paper studies biomaterials in contrast with conventional sneaker materials. Though designers and consumers are becoming increasingly aware to the magnitude that heaps of garbage are impacting our planet, sustainability is at its core an issue of materiality to be led by designers and biologists who can build materials to live seamlessly within Earth’s natural life cycle as plants and bacteria do.
Parley & Adidas Collaborate on a running shoe utilizing thread made from recycled ocean plastic. Adidas has pledged to eliminate all plastic in its products by 2024
Parley’s ocean plastic is ground up before it is spun into thread.
Adidas collaborated with Stella McCartney on a vegan remake of the Stan Smith sneaker. It retails for $325.
Pelcor makes sneakers and many other products from a sustainable cork skin material.
Mycellium roots grow and cling onto the substrate they grow within. The substrate affects the material’s final properties.
The company MuSkin makes a mushroom leather.
Ecovative’s MycoFlex foam takes on flexible properties.
MycoLeather is MycoWorks’ take on mushroom leather.
Pineapple leather is made from remains after the fruit is removed.
Spiber collaborated with North Face to make this entirely spider-woven parka.
Spiber spins real spider silk for its incredibly strong & resistant properties.
Field-coagulated latex is a wild rubber that can be formed in blocks.
The People’s Movement - Eco-conscious shoes made with recycled cleaned plastic bags.
Veja - an ethical French Brand makes their sneakers from recycled plastic & wild rubber.
Apple leather can be made from the outer skin once the apple have been crushed for juice.
Modern Meadow grow leather in a lab. Their product, Zoa, is expected hit market in 2020.
Carbon-capture factories can use carbon extracted from the air to manufacture products, like shoe soles.
These shoes are designed to assemble without glue so they don’t make factory workers sick.
Bioplastic can be made from algae
NewLab is a hub for innovative companies in tech and sustainability. This year they’re hosting Biofabricate.
This info-graphic expresses the importance of relationships between design, manufacture, and retail.
Life-cycle analysis of footwear using MycoWorks leather.
Leather comparisons as illustrated by MycoWorks
Leather and footwear market share, as illustrated by MycoWorks.
Allbirds’ SweetFoam sole made from sugarcane
Allbirds used one recycled water bottle to make a pair of its shoe laces.
Nike Flyknit reduces waste materials
Nike’s Flyprint technology reduces waste almost completely.
The Flyprint process was motivated by Nike’s top marathon runners.
Nike’s Grind program recycles materials to be re-used in store displays and athletic fields.
AMSilk and Adidas collaborated on a spider-silk upper that biodegrades once it’s soaked in a solution.
Nak produces PETA-approved vegan and cruelty free leather shoes.
Rothy’s knits their shoes with a yarn made from recycled water bottles.
Ohio State researchers have developed an synthetic -rubber alternative to carbon black fillers found in tires.
Fortess of Inca: “We believe the people who make our shoes are just as important as the people who buy them.”
Bluesign provides services and rankings to connect consumers to brands that fit their sustainability values.
Algalife uses the versatile properties of algae to make dyes.
Modern Meadow’s Zoa leather is created by re-sequencing DNA from animal proteins.
More than 50% of global industrial emissions since 1988 can be traced to just 25 companies.