Gary Gagnon got sick of seeing shoes go to the landfill once they were worn out, and is doing something about it. He has developed sneakers that are 100% recyclable. Check out his Kickstarter and help him with round two of his sustainable footwear.
Footwear production results in a lot of waste, mostly EVA and PU foam from the midsole and footbeds, and fabric from the uppers. Normally the waste is composed of mixed, bonded materials and therefore is not recyclable. SOLE used to give its scrap mix of foams from its footbed production to a Korean company that reused it as housing insulation. If you are able to either design the shoe for disassembly or use one material for the bonded parts, then recycling the shoe is made possible.
One option is to use PLUSfoam®, which enables a designer to make shoes out of one base material that can be processed into different durometers, feel and appearances. PLUSfoam® can be formulated to replace EVA, PU, rubber and plastics. Check them out to see their closed-loop process and which brands are already using their materials.