Creating More Sustainable Footwear

November 05, 2019

Creating More Sustainable Footwear

Making more sustainable footwear is no easy task. Footwear—of both the casual and sports performance variety—uses a multitude of materials that are not the most environmentally friendly. But just because making sustainable footwear isn’t easy doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. In Salomon’s footwear department, a number of experts are busy working on sustainable footwear solutions for the future; some of which will be unveiled in the near future.

The Crossamphibian Swift 2 shoe, which arrived at retailers this summer, is the first Salomon footwear product made from recycled materials. Every pair of Crossamphibian Swift 2 shoes includes the equivalent of 1.75 plastic bottles, two ears of corn and discarded coffee grounds—all post-consumer.

“This is a super important step because we have a sustainability program in the company and this is the first time it is visible on one of our products," says Salomon's Play-Minded Project Manager Vincent Thomas.

The mesh parts of the shoe are comprised of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is what plastic bottles are made from. The synthetic upper sections are made of 50 percent corn fibers, using two ears of corn waste. The suede of the tongue is made of recycled plastic, and the insole is made from 10 grams of coffee grounds using S-Café technology, which also helps with odour control.

For comfort-seeking outdoor athletes who get their feet wet during outdoor summer activities and need outstanding grip, the Crossamphibian Swift 2 is the perfect shoe. The shoe itself has a lug geometry designed for wet surfaces and a specific compound—along with small drainage lines on the sole (similar to what is used on shoes in the sailing industry)—gives the shoe improved adherence to wet surfaces, even on underwater rocks. A collapsible heel allows the shoe to be worn like a comfy slip-on and a protective toecap helps keep feet safe from rocks.

“The shoe can be worn with socks or without, and the collapsible heel makes it useful for a variety of activities, even traveling,” says Salomon Outdoor Footwear Product Line Manager Caroline Lanfant.

The shoe is soft, flexible, breathable and lined with naturally sourced mesh, making it as comfortable barefoot as it is with socks. It also keeps the foot in contact with the healthier materials for barefoot use.

“This is just the start,” says Vincent. “With our Play-Minded sustainability program at Salomon we have a number of short and long-term goals. We need to change at the company level and look for innovations and new materials, and this is our challenge. In the future you will see more sustainable shoes at Salomon and the Crossamphibian Swift 2 is just the beginning.”