Circular Footwear Initiative:

Whilst the world’s media has focused on fast fashion and the need for sustainable fashion, footwear brands have avoided the spotlight. But the stark facts behind footwear pollution are of the same magnitude, if not greater. We manufacture 25 BILLION pairs of shoes every year, FIFTY BILLION individual shoes which includes 3 billion pairs of synthetic flip-flops per annum. Every single one heading to landfill or the environment at end-of-life. Each pair weighs between 0.5-1kg creating millions of tonnes to sit in landfill. The volume is growing 20% every decade – that’s another 10 billion extra linear throwaway shoes by 2030. To put this into context the world production of apparel is only 100 billion items per annum. The athletic footwear market alone is worth around $50bn – but close to zero is being spent on environmental initiatives and circularity. Before it’s too late, we launched the Circular Footwear Initiative. The planet cannot absorb fifty to sixty billion shoes per year. We need footwear to disassemble, be repairable, be repurposed and to expand when a child grows. We need materials and componentry which can be refashioned, restructured and if all else fails, recycled. At the very least, in the short term, footwear needs to be compostable, and by that we mean certified compostable, not some greenwash mythical biodegradation. We are gathering together some of the greatest minds in circularity alongside circular fashion and footwear experts and industrial designers. We are planning a series of events and roundtables to encourage debate and sharing of information. We are working with manufacturers of footwear and componentry whilst inviting other major brands to do the same. We’re excited to be working with some real pioneers on the supply side.