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How Sympatex Wants to Make Recycled, Climate-Neutral Shoes

Ecological alternatives are at the forefront of Sympatex Technologies’ agenda. The Munich, Germany-based high-tech material manufacturer will introduce a shoe consisting of up to 90 percent of recycled raw material, including a sole made with more than two-thirds of recycled rubber.

The company will present the prototype shoe at Lineapelle in Milan, Oct.4-6.

The shoe consists of 100 percent recycled outer fabric and lining laminates from the existing Sympatex portfolio. The 100 percent recycled outer fabric and linings contain Global Recycled Standard-certified and Bluesign-certified polyester fibers made from recycled PET bottles. Sympatex says the shoe’s life cycle assessment is “excellent,” resulting in 32 percent CO2 reduction, 60 percent energy savings and 94 percent less water consumption.

Sympatex uses a toxic-free and biologically tanned leather upper, which in return can be integrated into the recycling process. Recycled and recyclable material is also used for the insole and pad as well as for reinforcement material, sewing threads, shoelaces and adhesives.

Sympatex Technologies CEO Dr. Rüdiger Fox said the company aims to counteract the growing global consumption of resources. “We do not plan an own shoe collection, but we won’t stop to demonstrate examples of what is possible in the shoe sector in terms of ecology already today until we succeed together with all industrial players to jointly close the resource cycle. This project combines highest expectations for performance and modern shoe production with at the same time optimized sustainability and we invite the entire industry to replicate these technological opportunities unscrupulously that are available already today,” Fox added.

The shoe also features Sympatex’s membrane, which has been completely climate-neutral since 2017. Sympatex works with the ClimatePartner climate protection consultancy from Germany for certification. Consumers can obtain a certificate which can be attached to the label of the manufactured product via a QR code, ensuring transparency for the consumer.