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ASICS Developed Tearable Shoe Made For Recycling

Photo Courtesy ASICS

ASICS, the popular running shoe, has been working on a recyclable shoe that provides the company’s comfort and performance and can be remade into new footwear. The NIMBUS MIRAI shoe is made with a recyclable fabric that is tearable and reusable. 

The NIMBUS MIRAI, which went on sale in April, is named after the GEL-NIMBUS technology ASICS is known for and the Japanese word for future. Based in Kobe, Japan, the company is working to achieve net-zero emissions in its business operations by 2050. According to ASICS, this is one step forward. 

The shoemaker says the product is 87.3% recyclable, with 24% of the midsole made from renewable materials such as sugar cane processing waste.

A more circular shoe is ideal, as most shoemakers have pumped out 24 billion pairs yearly between 2015 and 2022. 

According to GreenBiz, each pair of NIMBUS MIRAIs comes with a QR code instructing consumers where to send old ASICS for recycling. Customers can bring them into stores or mail them from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.  

Photo Courtesy ASICS

Terracycle will recycle the used shoes. This firm specializes in hard-to-recycle items like cigarette butts. The sneakers will be shredded and washed, then turned into pellets. The pellets are spun into a fiber that is similar to yarn. The fabric is knitted together to create a new pair of NIMBUS MIRAIs. 

“The most difficult part was the use of uniform polyester material to achieve a high level of performance in the upper and to realize comfort,” Yoshiyasu Ando, senior designer, performance running footwear division at ASICS, said in a company video. 

Once the shoes reach the end of their life, the upper part will be removed from the rubber sole and stripped into polyester material, which can be used again for new shoes, Keiki Okumura, strategy manager, performance running footwear division at ASICS, explained

Photo Courtesy ASICS

ASICS joins a growing list of shoemakers that are switching to sustainable materials. Puma launched its RE: SUEDE shoes to 500 buyers for a real-world market test with positive feedback.

Nike announced its ISPA Link Axis team created a circular shoe in 2021. Other sustainable shoe brands, including Allbirds and Baliston, use recycled materials. 

Sustainable shoes are not overpriced commodities as one might think. There are affordable brands that people can wear with minimal environmental impact. However, garment waste is just the tip of the fashion industry’s reckoning with climate change. Creating a circular economy remains the key theme of these companies’ sustainability models.

“The announcement of NIMBUS MIRAI™ is a proud moment for us and an important milestone in our ambition to be a net-zero carbon emission business by 2050,” Fumitaka Kamifukumoto, one of the NIMBUS MIRAI project leaders, said in a press release.

“It has remained our focus not to compromise the product’s performance at all, so that runners can wear the shoe as they would any other from ASICS — protected and supported as they replenish their body and mind.”   


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