Innovations That Matter

All of the materials can be dismantled and composted as the trainers come to the end of their life | Photo source Create Now/James Dyson Foundation

Biodegradable trainers that can be composted at home

Fashion & Beauty

The gelatine and glycerine materials of the Voronoi Runner can be fully dismantled and composted by the wearer

New Zealand designer Rik Olthuis, has created a 100 per cent biodegradable running trainer, in an aim to reduce waste entering landfill from the footwear industry. Traditional shoe manufacturers use strong adhesives used to attach the plastics and polyurethane foam of the trainer together, which prevent the materials from being separated and correctly recycled. 

The biodegradable gelatine and glycerine materials of the Voronoi Runner can be fully dismantled and composted by the wearer themselves, reducing the need for costly commercial involvement. The upper part of the trainer is made from Merino wool, and the printed heel and toe caps contain plant fibres. The polyurethane foam is replaced by a biodegradable foam alternative that is light, water-resistant and compressive. To avoid the adhesives, the upper is stitched and tied onto a strong, flexible, 3D-printed structure into which the foam is poured. The sole and midsole of the shoe is also made from a 3D-printed and scanned flexible biodegradable filament, which can also adapt each shoe to the individual wearer. 

All of the materials can be dismantled and composted as the trainers come to the end of their life. The trainers are currently being tested with different biodegradable filaments.

Written By: Holly Hamilton

Explore more: Fashion & Beauty Innovations | Sustainability Innovations

Website: rikolthuis.myportfolio.com

Contact: rikolthuis.myportfolio.com/contact

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