<!– @page { margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } –> Every year, almost 25 billion pairs of shoes are produced with an environmental impact that is not indifferent at around 700 million tons of Co2. The complexity of production processes and the use of many different materials have a significant impact on the ecological footprint of footwear. This is even more true for athletic footwear: according to a study done by MIT on the LCA- Life Cycle Assessment of the sneaker, for every pair produced, around 14kgs of Co2 are released into the atmosphere.

Aware of this impact, leading names in athletic footwear were among the first to react, by promoting eco-friendly projects, focused above all on the use of natural or recycled materials and the optimisation of productive processes, which account for 67.8% of the emissions released by one pair of shoes.

In the first case, we have an example from the Renew project of Converse, which redesigns the silhouette of the iconic All-Star Chuck Taylor and Chuck 70 in accordance with the concept of upcycling, based on the recycling of production discards. In its first phase, Renew focused on the reuse of plastic bottles, while today, with the shoe now in its third generation, it has presented Renew Cotton, which makes use of recycled cotton derived from factory discards and cuttings that might otherwise end up in landfills, with beautiful textures and natural colours. Renew Denim, instead, in collaboration with vintage retailer Beyond Retro, recovers discarded jeans giving life to a Chuck cult classic.

A different perspective is offered by the collaboration between Adidas and Allbirds for the development of a sole with a low carbon footprint that aims to reduce the ecological footprint by studying innovation solutions in support of the entire production chain, including in particular, manufacturing, transportation, and the use of renewable materials and energy. An effort that is also promoted individually by the two labels, with Adidas proposing its “End plastic waste” project aimed at reducing the company's carbon footprint by 30%, with the aim of arriving at an impact of zero by 2030. Instead, Allbirds with “Tread Lighter” involves consumers in its e-commerce, presenting the carbon footprint of every model during its lifecycle with the aim of producing completely carbon-free shoes within a year.

Sustainable innovation can also be found in productive processes: Futurecraft.loop of Adidas is a futuristic way of enabling a closed-loop manufacturing model, which gives life to a trainer in 100% recyclable TPU. The project also represents a cultural revolution for consumers: 200 athletes, musicians, and artists received these shoes in phase 1, and after intense use, they were sent back to Adidas and recycled, in order to give life to a second generation of sneakers. These too are, of course, completely recyclable with a lifecycle that will never end.