Do you want to wear a different colored shoe tomorrow? You’ll either pull it out of your shoe rack or head to the nearest store to pick up a new pair. A few months later, you have two shoe pairs lined up for the landfill or an incinerator. For us that’s only like a loss of favorite shoes. For someone environmentally conscious, it is a deliberate attempt to add to the unrecyclable heap of waste on the planet.
Most of the shoes we wear are made from a mixture of materials that are difficult to break down and thus recycled. Eventually, what we dispose of meets a single unproductive and perilous fate: the landfill! Of course, designers have realized the footwear industry needs alternatives and have been experimenting with 3D printing reusable and eco-friendly materials. Case in point, this pair of recyclable modular shoes.
Designer: Nao Zaidman
The solution proposed by Zaidman comprises two modules, which can attach together – most effortlessly – to create an environmentally friendly silhouette. Made in two parts: the knitted upper and a TPU outsole, the shoe boasts a modular design permitting the wearer to play around with different pairings for a varied look.
This the wearer can do with least burden on their shoulder: the modular recyclable knitted shoes are completely recyclable at the end of life. The extra imperative feat is possible because of the 3D printed TPU flexible filament outsole (crafted in a single unit without any adhesives) and a completely elastic yarn mesh upper.
The two-part design becomes one unified pair when the elastic cords (knitted from the same yarn used for the upper) overlaid on the breathable upper are attached to the hooks in the flexible base. “The components are very easy to attach, wear, and take off,” and even allow the wearer the option of replacing a worn-out upper or sole, or retrofitting a different colored upper with an old sole, or a new base with an old upper. So, it’s one shoe pair for a lifetime with zero footprint at the end of life.