SPRINTING TOWARD ZERO CARBON FOOTPRINT Footwear and apparel company Allbirds may just win the sustainability race. The company, known for its commitment to eco- friendly practices, has unveiled a new Tree Flyer performance running shoe that has a carbon footprint of 9.92 kg CO2e, all of which is offset to zero. How? According to the company, it’s a combination of innovative technology, renewable natural materials, and instantaneous material circularity: • Midsoles: While usually made from petroleum and 100% synthetic, the Tree Flyer’s SwiftFoam midsole material leverages natural castor beans, a renewable natural resource that has a 20% lower carbon footprint than a petroleum-based alternative. • Waste: Nearly 100% of the excess waste created while making the midsole is instantaneously recycled to craft the external heel counter. • Structure: The shoe also features a knit structure, made from Allbirds’ signature eucalyptus-based tree fiber. The company notes that it has not sacrificed performance in the name of sustainability. Allbirds claims the Tree Flyer offers more bounce, more propulsion, and a 70% rebound rate that helps give runners more energy with every step. There must be a lot of Carrie Bradshaws out there, as a new report from ResearchAndMarkets.com estimates the global footwear market will reach $440 billion by 2026. Here are some key takeaways: • Casual footwear, one of the most popular segments of the market, is projected to reach $213.3 billion by 2026. • The athletic footwear segment, which currently accounts for a 37.6% share of the global footwear market, is predicted to grow by 1.9% CAGR. • China, India, Brazil, Italy, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey and Spain are the leading producers of footwear. • Top footwear consumers and importers are the United States, Japan, Germany, UK, France and Italy. SIZING UP THE GLOBAL FOOTWEAR MARKET
SNEAKERS THAT COME APART— ON PURPOSE While most footwear companies focus their manufacturing prowess on making sure shoes don’t fall apart, Nike is going in the opposite direction with two of its current products, deciding that indestructible shoes may not be the right goal to embrace. Some 300 million pairs of shoes per year are tossed in the trash in America, and take an average of 30 to 40 years to decompose, according to a 2021 Wichita State study. Instead, in an effort to help boost sustainability in the footwear industry, Nike developed its Nike Link and Link Axis shoes, which incorporate the concept of shoe “disassembly” into their design. Using its innovative ISPA approach (Improvise, Scavenge, Protect, and Adapt), Nike’s designers created the Link models to emphasize flexibility and durability while avoiding the kinds of bonds and adhesives that typically make shoes difficult to disassemble and recycle. The Link can instead be pulled apart into three distinct pieces, eliminating the need for energy-intensive shredding or manual breakdown processes. Nike also says that removing traditional adhesives also takes some energy out of the sneaker construction process in the way of heating and cooling the bonds, meaning they’re more sustainably constructed as well. Consumers can return the disassembled Nike Link and Link Axis shoes to Nike stores for recycling.
June 2022 • Inbound Logistics 13
Powered by FlippingBook