Trainers leave lighter footprint using recycled materials

Materials World magazine
3 Jun 2020

Belgian shoe brand steps out with new trainers that have an 80% lower carbon footprint.

The Norm 1L11 – a trainer made from recycled polymer materials – has been unveiled in an effort to make a step-change in the shoe manufacturing process. 

The Belgium brand, Norm, claims the shoe has a carbon footprint of 6.5kg across its lifecycle, while an average shoe emits an equivalent of around 32kg of carbon dioxide.

Norm has achieved its carbon reduction goals by using almost exclusively recycled plastic and rubber for making the shoe and its packaging, while limiting transportation during the manufacturing process, which is solely carried out in Europe. 

The upper part of the 1L11 model is 3D knitted with yarn made from six recycled bottles per pair of trainers. It is fabricated from one single component instead of several pieces, avoiding the need to cut and stitch elements together. To increase lifespan, the knitted upper is made in such a way that, if damaged, the wearer can repair it themselves. 

A mix of 70% recycled rubber and 30% natural fair-trade rubber is then melted down and injected into moulds to form the outer sole, which is attached to the shoe with a water-based glue.

In addition to the upper, other details produced with plastic bottles include the tongue label and dashed, hiking-style laces, while the inner sole is made from recycled foam.