BUILT TO BE REBORNMinimialist design engineered to be recycled.
INTRODUCING THE INDEX.01 RECYCLABLE RUNNING SHOE
“Shoes are a very complex product to recycle because they generally mix so many materials: leather, EVA, rubber, TPU, polyester, polyamide,” explains Olivier Mouzin, Manager of Salomon’s Footwear Sustainability Program.
“And because there isn’t really a way to separate all those materials at the end of the shoe’s life, the shoes often end up in a landfill or burned.”
To understand how the futuristic Index.01 came to exist, it’s important to first look to the past.
In late 2019, Salomon unveiled a concept shoe that was made completely from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). The idea was that the entire shoe could be ground into tiny pieces at the end of its life, then used in the creation of a Salomon alpine ski boot. The concept shoe was an encouraging initial step, but Mouzin and the Salomon footwear development team knew it would never pass the rigid durability requirements required of all Salomon footwear.
“To create the Index.01,we had to construct a shoe using only two materials that could later be separated and recycled,” says Mouzin. “And, just as importantly, we had to be sure those materials would allow us to construct a shoe that passes our standards for every day road running in terms of fit, performance and durability.”
RECYCLING THE INDEX.01
While they were busy “solving” the problem of building a recyclable shoe, Salomon’s footwear team also had to tackle the issue of how to actually collect the used Index.01s for recycling when they were done being used by consumers.
Recycling any product is, of course, dependent on the end-user playing his/her part. In this case, that means the person wearing the shoes. So, the next challenge was creating a process for collecting the shoes in the most environmentally-friendly manner possible, and to make that process easy enough that consumers will be willing to play their role in starting the process with their used shoes.
To launch the recycling process, Index.01 owners can simply visit Salomon.com and request a shipping label to send the shoes to the closest collection center free of charge. (More details will be available on Salomon.com as the shoe nears its February 2021 availability day.) From there, the shoes will begin their journey towards a second life.
To lessen the material waste associated with the Index.01, there will be no stuffing paper used inside the shoes and no extra hangtags. In fact, starting with the Spring 2021 season, all Salomon footwear will use FSC certified packaging.
The environmental impact of all Salomon footwear packaging was drastically reduced in 2017, when glue and water-based ink were eliminated and the amount of cardboard was reduced.
How the footwear industry will progress in the area of sustainability is in both the short-term and long-term is an exciting prospect. At Salomon, the next step is to simplify the separability of the two materials in the Index.01 and ensure that the product return process has the lowest environmental impact possible.