“Designed to be disassembled and recycled,
the Index.01 brings your training sessions to the same level as your values“
Well this got my attention!
After three years of research and development at Salomon’s Annecy Design Centre in the French Alps, the shoe has been constructed to reduce material waste by using circular life cycle principles.
When Salomon’s footwear product team members set out to create an all-around running shoe that cares about the planet, their goal was to make it recyclable without sacrificing performance. The unique materials and the construction of the Index.01 are what made the dream a reality.
By using recycled polyester for the upper and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) for the bottom unit, the Salomon team ensured that both parts of the Index.01 would be recyclable. At the end of the shoe’s life, the recycled insole is removed so the upper and bottom units can be separated to begin the recycling process. Once separated, the bottom unit will be ground down into tiny pellets and then combined with virgin TPU to make Salomon alpine ski boots and other products. The Polyester upper can also be reused in the creation of fabric.
The running performance of the Index.01 is driven by the plush, TPU-based foam of the bottom unit and the shoe’s R.Camber (rocker) geometry, which helps propel the runner forward with a quick transition, spending less time on the ground. At 285 grams, it‘s designed for daily training and features a 9mm drop and a molded sock liner that is made from 100% recycled material (recycled EVA foam and a recycled polyester cover).
“The unique expertise of Salomon across multiple sports coupled with a passion for the environment has led to the development of this exciting new shoe,” said Salomon’s President, Michael White. “When the Index.01 was presented internally, the audience burst into spontaneous applause as the dream of a performance Salomon running shoe that is fully recyclable became reality.”
HOW THE INDEX.01 IS MADE
A key challenge in creating the Index.01 was finding a material for the bottom unit that was both recyclable and could deliver the perfect amount of shock absorption and rebound needed for road running. The answer was a nitrogen-infused, TPU-based foam called INFINIRIDE, which can be ground into tiny pieces and recycled when the shoe reaches the end of its life. A water-based glue is used to connect the bottom unit and the upper in order to minimize material contamination.
The shoe is constructed so that it can be easily disassembled at the end of its life. Once separated, the materials of the upper and bottom unit are recycled separately. The thread used to stitch together the upper and bottom unit is also polyester, allowing it to be part of the recycled upper materials.
“First, we had to construct a shoe using only two materials that could later be separated and recycled,” says Olivier Mouzin, Manager of Salomon’s Footwear Sustainability Program. “We also had to be sure those materials would allow us to construct a shoe that passes our standards for every day road running in terms of fit, performance and durability.”
RECYCLING THE INDEX.01
To launch the recycling process, Index.01 owners can simply visit Salomon.com and print a shipping label to send the shoes to the closest collection centre free of charge. From there, the shoes will begin their journey towards a second life. I’ll be finding out how many of these there will be in the UK.
To minimise transportation impact, the shoes will be received at collection centres in Europe, North America and the Asia/Pacific regions. There, the product will be washed and disassembled before each material is sent for recycling locally. The materials of the bottom unit that are recycled in Europe will be used to create new Salomon ski boots starting with the 2022 winter season. The polyester upper will also be ground down, then turned into yarn and used to weave a fabric. The recycling partners and specific second-life use of the materials in each region are currently being defined.
“It’s important to be sustainably consistent in collecting the shoes at the end of their life,” Mouzin says. “We don’t want them to travel all over the planet. That’s why, as a first step, we set up collection centres in each region. From there, we also had to find recycling partners to recycle the used shoe materials locally. Salomon can recycle TPU in Europe and in partnership with our factories in Asia, but we had to find solutions for polyester and for the TPU in North America.”
Additionally, there will be no stuffing paper used inside the Index.01 shoes and no extra hangtags in an effort to lessen the material waste. For the Spring 2021 season, all Salomon footwear will use FSC certified packaging. The environmental impact of all Salomon footwear packaging was drastically reduced in 2017, when glue and water-based ink were eliminated and the amount of cardboard was reduced.
Now I think we can all agree there are a lot of claims in the above and how that translates to ease of recycling, lifespan and durability of the shoe and performance are yet to be seen. What excites me isn’t so much the shoe, but the concept and if this works, what this can mean in years to come. One of the greatest issues is the limited lifespan shoes and all consumable running products have, coupled with the fact few things can be recycled at the end of their life, due to the ways in which different materials are bonded or materials used.
I’m excited to see how this develops, how the rest of the market reacts and as consumers, do we take this or stick to our traditional products.
Will we refer to the Index.01 in years to come as the start of changing construction techniques and consumer attitudes within the running sphere?
Let me know your thoughts.
This is not a sponsored post or paid advertisement – press release supplied by Spike Communications