The Swiss sportswear company On Running has introduced the Cloudprime shoe, the first running shoe with a midsole made using carbon emissions, making them the best environmentally friendly running shoes currently on the market.
The average pair of sports shoes accounts for about 13kg of carbon dioxide after production and landfill disposal, and this fact is not lost on the activewear industry, which is becoming increasingly conscious of the impact its products have on the environment.
Many shoe companies, including ASICS and Lululemon, have made sustainability pledges, promising that between 75% and 100% of the materials used in their shoes will be sustainable. However, On Running appears to be ahead of the pack with this new shoe; however, making a shoe out of carbon emissions raises the question, how exactly does one do this?
LanzaTech, whose technology is used to capture carbon monoxide emitted by industrial sources like steel mills and landfills, is one of On Running’s partners. This is converted into liquid ethanol, which is then dehydrated to create ethylene and finally polymerized to create CleanCloudTM EVA foam, a lightweight foam material that is a more environmentally friendly alternative to the materials used by other sports shoe brands.
The end result is, in our opinion, quite pleasing; the white shoes are splashed with pink and blue swirls, and they feature a chunky heel and a loop design on the midsole for a contemporary athletic look.
Currently, only the midsole is made in this way, but On has stated that the outer sole and upper will soon follow suit. In addition, On Running appears to have big plans for the future, as the company is “excited to unlock the potential of alternative carbon sources” in the coming years.
Sounds fantastic, but how effective will they be?
You’re probably wondering if these new shoes from On Running can really hold their own against the best running shoes on the market, despite the fact that they look good and make us feel sustainably smug.
It’s possible that the CleanCloudTM EVA foam in the midsole is the most pivotal component of any running shoe. The midsole serves two purposes: it cushions the foot (vital for long-distance runners) and it absorbs shock (your foot doesn’t take all the impact). It’s also very light, which is essential for any running shoe.
In recent years, we’ve seen an uptick in the use of eco-friendly materials in athletic footwear, with AllBirds and ASICS among the industry’s “front runners,” and early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive in terms of both performance and durability.
We’re eager to see where this new development goes, but On Running hasn’t announced when the Cloudprime shoe will go on sale.