Entertainment A trainer made purely from carbon emissions now exists – and actually, it looks okay
A trainer made purely from carbon emissions now exists – and actually, it looks okay
If you’re looking for a pair of the best eco-friendly running shoes, Swiss sportswear brand On Running has released the Cloudprime shoe, which are the first running shoe with a midsole made using carbon emissions.
Activewear companies are increasingly aware of the impact making their clothes and footwear have on the environment, and the average pair of sports shoes are responsible for around 13kg of carbon dioxide, taking into account production and disposal in landfill.
The likes of ASICS and Lululemon have made sustainability pledges, promising to ensure that more (between 75 and 100%) of the materials used in their shoes will be sustainable, but On Running seems to be leading the pack with this new shoe – but how exactly do you make a shoe from carbon emissions?
On Running has partnered with companies including LanzaTech, which uses its technology to capture carbon monoxide emitted from industrial sources like steel mills or landfill sites. This is then turned into liquid ethanol, which is dehydrated to produce ethylene, before being polymerized to produce CleanCloud™ EVA foam – a lightweight foam material, which is a sustainable version of the materials used by other sports shoe brands.
We think the result is very attractive – the white show, adorned with pink and blue swirls, also has a chunky heel and loop design on the midsole, giving them a sporty but forward-thinking design.
Only the midsole is currently made in this way, but On says it’s working towards making the outer sole and upper more sustainable too. And it looks like On running won’t be stopping there either, with the brand saying it’s excited to “unlock the potential of alternative carbon sources” in the next few years.
Sounds great – but how will they perform?
We know what you’re thinking: they may look good, and make us feel sustainably smug, but can these new shoes from On Running really compete with the best running shoes you can buy?
The midsole, where the CleanCloud™ EVA foam, is used, can be one of the most important parts for any running show. This is because the midsole provides cushioning for the foot – especially for long-distance runners – while it’s also important for shock absorption, meaning the ground is impacted rather than your foot. It’s also a lightweight material, which is key to the design of any running shoe.
Sustainable materials have started to be more widely used in sports shoes, with AllBirds and ASICS being some of the front ‘runners’ for eco-friendly shoes, and feedback on their performance and durability has so far been positive.
On Running currently doesn’t have an on-sale date for the Cloudprime shoe, so we’ll have to wait to see if a show made using carbon emissions can compete with some of the top brands, but we’re excited to see where this new development leads.