On is taking its sustainability mission to the next level.
The Swiss shoe brand has created a protoype of a running shoe to be partially made from carbon emissions. And although it won’t be available commercially for at least two to three years, the Cloudprime features CleanCloud EVA foam, a product that uses carbon emissions as a raw material.
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The company said the launch of the Cloudprime is “a significant moment in On’s journey to move away from petroleum-based resources.” CleanCloud is used in the shoe’s midsole but can be targeted to other shoe parts and products in the future, On said.
“Holding the first shoe made of carbon emissions in my hands is a huge milestone — not only for On, but for the whole sports industry,” said Caspar Coppetti, cofounder and executive co-chairman of On. “Five years ago, this was barely a dream. Imagine what can happen in the future as we unlock the potential of alternative carbon sources with further research and in collaboration with the best partners.”
On worked with LanzaTech, Borealis and Technip Energies on the creation of the shoe.
The way it works is that LanzaTech captures carbon monoxide emitted from industrial sources such as steel mills before it is released into the atmosphere. Once captured, the emissions enter a patented fermentation process and specially selected and naturally occurring bacteria convert the gas to ethanol. That is then dehydrated to create ethylene by Technip and turned into a polymer by Borealis to become EVA, or ethylene vinyl acetate, in the form of small, solid plastic pellets that On uses to create foam for the shoes.
As it prepares to bring the Cloudprime to market, On is collaborating with circular start-up Novoloop on the outsole for CleanCloud by using the first chemically upcycled TPU from post-consumer plastic waste. And for the upper, the brand is working with the French start-up Fairbrics to create a polyester-based textile made from carbon emissions.