There have been whispers about this shoe since at least 2018. A running shoe that could be recycled at the end of its life. Well, that’s simplifying it a bit. A running shoe that was built with recyclability in mind from the beginning is more like it. Salomon announced the development of the shoe last year, and now they’re showing it off. It will be available in the spring and it has an appropriately futuristic name, the Index.01.
The uppers are recycled polyester. The midsole, where Salomon says the real magic happens, is a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) construction that can be fairly easily recycled into new things. It was crucial to use as few materials as possible to make recycling doable; at first they tried just to make the shoe from TPU but it simply didn’t perform. In this case, Salomon is planning to recycle these shoes into new ski boots when the customer has decided the shoe has reached the end of its life.
Salomon will do that by having customers ship the worn-out shoes to one of their newly organized regional recycling centers where the shoe is washed, separated into constituent parts, then broken down to be remade. Shipping it close by helps reduce shipping impact, Salomon says.
There’s no word from Salomon on this, but the all-white color might be to avoid using harmful chemicals that can’t be recycled easily, or at all.
That all shoes are made with the idea that all the plastics will just be dumped into a landfill, rather than be purposely built for recycling is jarring. The recycling concept seems quite simple. Whether customers get on board remains to be seen. Price is $200 per pair.