Asics announced the launch of the Nimbus Mirai, its first closed-loop product, last week (11 April) and said thanks to the design process – which has since been revealed as being developed by TerraCycle – the performance running shoe is designed to be remade into new Asics at the end of its useful life.

“This is an incredible example of collaboration between two major stakeholders in the lifecycle of a product,” said Tom Szaky, CEO & founder of TerraCycle. “Asics is the driving force behind the closed-loop initiative and TerraCycle’s innovative closed-loop recycling process allows athletes and consumers across the world to know their running shoes will be recycled into new shoes and not sent to landfills or incinerators.”

It is estimated that of the 23.9bn pairs of shoes that are produced annually worldwide, 95% of them will become waste. Across 21 countries, TerraCycle is on a mission to eliminate the idea of waste and has developed innovative solutions for today’s complex waste challenges.

Running shoes are not easily recycled due to their complex material makeup – which may include a variety of textiles, rubber, foam, fibres and more, that are often glued or stitched together. TerraCycle’s “cutting-edge” process allows for the recovery and recycling of the materials used in the Asics Nimbus Mirai from sole to shoelace.

Asics’s Nimbus Mirai sneaker features a uniform polyester upper devoid of overlays, facilitating seamless recycling. Employing an original Asics-created glue, the sportswear brand promises durability while enabling easy disassembly for recycling, with the upper and sole designed for easy separation.

Through testing, Asics confirmed that 87.3% of the upper material can be reclaimed as new polyester, ready for remanufacturing.

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“The footwear industry has yet to come up with an adequate solution to this waste problem,” explained Fumitaka Kamifukumoto, Asics general manager, footwear production division.

“We’ve done extensive research, and we’re proud to announce a performance running shoe designed with materials that can be worn and re-worn, ending the single-use lifecycle of our products.”