United States – US athletics footwear manufacturer New Balance (NB) describes its NewSKY shoe, comprising 95% recycled PET bottles, as ‘a different way to think about footwear’. The company was looking to make a more sustainable product, and its designers have used the distinctive qualities of the recycled fabric to eliminate many traditional components made of virgin materials.
‘The principles of shoemaking didn’t necessarily apply to this fabric. Normally, you would need foam, a reinforcer, another reinforcer and an external material. A lot of stuff goes in there and we stripped all that out,’ explained Drew Spieth, Design Lead for NB’s Wellness range.
Instead the company opted for what it labels ‘eco-fi’ (eco-fabric) polyester, with the upper part of the shoe using material derived from eight PET bottles. The so-called ‘fashion-forward’ design uses 73% less upper materials than traditional running shoes.
‘Aside from the foam, the little rubber components on the outsole and a little water-based glue, the only material used here is the recycled fabric,’ Mr Spieth said. Chemically and functionally speaking, eco-fi has similar properties to fabric made from virgin materials, which has made it a common choice for car interiors and carpets. Other technical characteristics, such as strength, comfort and breathability, make it an ‘ideal candidate for footwear ‘ this lets your feet do well by doing good,’ NB claims.
For more information, visit: www.newbalance.com