A Better Future
A look at sustainability stories around the footwear industry.
A Better Future
A look at sustainability stories around the footwear industry.
Salomon’s Recyclable Shoe
Building upon the eco-innovation of its INDEX.01 model introduced two years ago, Salomon has introduced an update — the new INDEX.02. Like its predecessor, the INDEX.02 is a 100% recyclable running shoe. It’s also 10% lighter (263grams) and the brand says its comfort and performance are enhanced thanks to improvements in the midsole geometry, foam quality and upper construction. The shoe has a suggested retail price of $180.
“Our goal is to provide the same level of performance as the rest of our road running shoes and we’re getting there,” says Laurent Coudurier, Salomon Footwear R&D Manager.
The INDEX.02 features a unique construction that allows it to be disassembled at the end of its life, so that the shoe materials can be recycled and used to make a new product. A QR code on the tongue of one shoe allows the shoe owner to easily scan it and register it after purchase, making it easy to return it for recycling at the end of its life. Like the INDEX.01, when INDEX.02 shoes are sent back for recycling in Europe, the materials will be used in the construction of Salomon alpine ski boots.
Analyzing the Lifecycle
“We started researching materials for the INDEX.01 shoe about five years ago, looking to reduce its impact,” says Coudurier. “
To assess the environmental impact of the original INDEX.01 recyclable running shoe, Salomon’s Footwear development teams compared the impact of the INDEX.01 with the Sonic 3 shoe from the brand’s road running range. The lifecycle analysis showed that the impact of the shoe is reduced by 44%, which the brand says offers encouragement to develop more footwear products following this circular economy concept.
“The INDEX.01 is a great start for sustainable footwear: we can test this new, simple design and its performance on the road, and test out the collecting and recycling process,” explains Olivier Mouzin, Footwear Sustainability Manager, Salomon. “The lifecycle analysis validates our work and encourages us to develop more footwear products following this circular economy concept.
With the INDEX.02, Salomon is aiming to improve the quality, comfort and performance of a fully recyclable shoe.
Versatility, Sustainability & Innovative Design from Munjoi
It’s one shoe that can be worn multiple ways. It has a sustainability story, a style story and a wellness story, too. Sandals on the beach, sneakers in the streets, or comfy mules at your favorite local café. The consumer’s environments are constantly changing throughout their day and Munjoi founder Patrick Hogan created the brand’s convertible All-Dai shoe to appeal to all of those changing needs with one footwear style.
The All-Dai can easily transform and be worn four different ways: As a sneaker, sandal, mule, and open-toe sneaker – all in one. Munjoi is a brand built around these two principles: Ultimate versatility and kinder material choices, explains Hogan. “We make multifunctional footwear that adapts to the consumer’s daily changing environments and our focus is to use materials that are plant-based, animal-cruelty free, and have a minimal footprint,” he says. “This means more benefits to the consumer and more benefits to the environment.”
The All-Dai shoe currently comes in three colors: Black Sea, Natural, and Sedona. In May, Munjoi will release four more colors: Pebbled Gray, Deep Sea, Moss, and Bright White.
Hogan says the overall trend towards wellness is right in Munjoi’s wheelhouse. “Consumers are prioritizing clean living and more natural, sustainable products into their lifestyle,” he explains. “This is why we chose to use primarily cotton and hemp in our knitted uppers and a plant-based EVA consisting of sugarcane and algae waste in our foam cushioning.”
By creating a single “athleisure” style versatile enough for multiple activities, Hogan believes Munjoi is “creating a whole new category of footwear built around ultimate versatility to meet the consumer’s constantly changing needs.”
The shoes have removable foam footbeds for cushioning and support, along with soft knitted uppers.
When it comes to eco innovation and moving towards a more sustainable future, Hogan notes, “All footwear has a negative impact on our environment,. This is why we believe that the most sustainable shoe is the shoe that never gets created. In moving towards a more sustainable future, we all need to design more thoughtful products and create less of it.”
He points out, “By combining the functions of multiple different types of footwear (A Sneaker, Sandal, & Mule) into one, singular pair of shoes — we are able to simultaneously benefit both the consumer and the environment more. We also use more environment-friendly materials that are plant-based, animal-cruelty free, and have a minimal carbon footprint.”
ECCO Celebrates 60 Years and Looks Forward to a More Sustainable Future
It’s a big year for ECCO. But the brand also has its sights set firmly on the future. ECCO is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. In April the brand will mark the milestone with a capsule collection featuring two of its most iconic styles, the ECCO Soft and ECCO Cozmo, in new lightweight designs with new eco innovations. Both styles are built in the brand’s owned factories with ECCO’s own leathers.
For the capsule collection, the three classic silhouettes of the ECCO Soft have been refitted with a new bio-based sole, making it a lighter weight offering. The sole is also wrapped with super-soft ECCO Organic DriTan nappa leathers. The ECCO Cozmo is also reimagined with an ultra-light Bio-based outsole.
In these new styles, the brand aims to celebrate its focus on looking forward with innovation and new technology for a more sustainable future. In addition to its ecologically minded DriTan leather technology, and Fluidform sole production, ECCO is unveiling its new bio-based LYTR technology to produce even more lightweight, sustainable and long-lasting soles. Comfort and sustainability are the focus of the LYTR soles, offering better cushioning, better shock-absorption, easier cleaning and longer lasting materials from a fully bio-based source.
“We are debuting our LYTR technology with our ECCO Soft 60 to celebrate our 60th Anniversary,” Tom Berry, CEO of ECCO US tells us. “It provides the great cushioning, support, and flexibility that that the consumer has come to love in our Soft franchise and delivers it in a lighter weight package built with bio-materials. The result is a feeling that is out of this world. When combined with our super-soft 100% Organic and DriTan nappa Leathers, the result is the most comfortable sneaker that I have ever worn.”
ECCO’s U.S. Opportunity
As the brand celebrate 60 years, we asked ECCO’s U.S. chief what he thinks the brand has come to “mean” to consumers, particularly in the U.S. “ECCO is a bit of a paradox,” Berry responds. “After 60 years, the consumers that know us understand ECCO to mean comfort, quality, durability, and timeless Danish design from a proudly independent family-owned company. The ‘go-to’ shoe brand for today’s modern family.”
However, he adds, “The reality is that even after 60 years, the majority of U.S. consumers do not know ECCO and that is our opportunity. We need to introduce this ‘hidden gem’ to more consumers. The consumers of today, especially today’s modern family, want to engage with authentic values-driven brands that help them live better by delivering superior products built the right way — ethically and sustainably. And ECCO, with its ‘better shoes built better’ philosophy, is the brand they want — but might not yet have met.”
Regarding the future for the brand and how it is working towards a lighter footprint and a more sustainable future, we asked Berry what the main principles are that guide ECCO in that journey.
“At ECCO we have two foundational advantages,” he notes. “The first is that we have been a Danish, values-driven, family-owned company for 60 years and we intend to remain that way. This allows us to take the long view; sustainability and social responsibility have been our core values long before they became fashionable and marketable. The second advantage is that we have a unique at scale ‘farm to foot’ vertical supply chain meaning we own and operate our factories and tanneries which gives us an obvious transparency advantage on sustainability and social responsibility issues.”
These two advantages, combined with the brand’s focus on innovation, durability, and style provide it with a powerful sustainability portfolio, Berry adds. ECCO aims to innovate by marrying craft and technology, he says. An example is DriTan technology which uses less water and produces less waste. Another is its Fluidform construction. “Longer life and greater durability is better for our consumer’s wallets and better for the planet,” says Berry. “And finally, our Danish modern design philosophy provides timeless style that’s relevant today and will be equally relevant 10 years from now. Timeless style is our ethic — not fast and disposable fashion; and timeless style is sustainability.”