On’s latest creation gives a more literal meaning to carbon footprint. The footwear brand is introducing the Cloudprime, a sneaker with EVA foam made from carbon emissions. The new material is called CleanCloud and comes from a four-way partnership with LanzaTech, Borealis, and Technip.
Over five years in the making, CleanCloud uses carbon emissions as a raw material to form the Cloudprime’s midsole and eliminates the need for petroleum. On hopes to use CleanCloud more in the future as it moves toward making all of its offerings fossil free and fully circular.
“Holding the first-ever shoe made of carbon emissions in my hands is a huge milestone — not only for On, but for the whole sports industry,” Caspar Coppetti, co-founder and executive co-chairman of On, said in a press release. “We believe that On can be an agent for positive change through enabling and accelerating the scale up of sustainable technologies such as CleanCloud.”
How it works — To make CleanCloud, On uses technology from LanzaTech to capture carbon monoxide from industrial sources before the gas is emitted into the atmosphere. Once captured, the emissions enter a patented fermentation process that allow its naturally occurring bacteria to convert to ethanol, a substance then dehydrated by Technip Energies to create ethylene. From there, Borealis polymerizes the ethylene to create EVA in the form of small plastic pellets.
A look into the process.
On hopes CleanCloud frames recycled carbon as a resource rather than a liability and plans to bring the technology to as many consumers as possible. “Five years ago, [CleanCloud] was barely a dream,” added Coppetti in a statement. “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.”
As CleanCloud only makes up the midsole of the Cloudprime sneaker, On has tapped additional partners to make the silhouette even more sustainable. A polyester-based textile made from carbon emissions, created in collaboration with young French start-up Fairbrics, dresses the upper of the Cloudprime. Underfoot, On partnered with chemical start-up Novoloop to make an outsole made from 32 percent post-consumer plastic waste.
Hang tight — A release for the Cloudprime sneaker has yet to be announced, but an On spokesperson tells Input that the company is working to incorporate its CleanCloud technology into footwear and apparel within the next 3 to 5 years. “[CleanCloud] is a meaningful step forward, while also signaling there is still significant work to be done,” the spokesperson writes in an email to Input. “To scale this technology across the industry, it will require enthusiasm and investment from not only fellow brands... but consumers as well.” So when the Cloudprime sneaker does debut, you know what to do.