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Thousand Fell sneakers can be disassembled at end of life

The components can be recycled, upcycled, or composted – but never landfilled.

When shoes wear out, they generally go in the trash. It can feel like an abrupt and unceremonious end to a part of your wardrobe that has taken you places, cost a good deal of money, and represents valuable embodied resources. Wouldn't it feel so much better if we knew those shoes could be recycled?

Enter Thousand Fell sneakers, basic white shoes that have been designed for circularity. Made in Brazil of 12 different sustainably sourced materials, including sugar cane, aloe vera, coconut, and recycled plastic water bottles, this innovative footwear is built to be disassembled at the end of its life, the various components sent to be reused, recycled, or composted. The shoes are made of natural rubber and vegan bio-leather, with an aloe vera mesh liner on the inside and recycled yoga mat insole for sockless wearing. “Every part is designed to be either 100% recycled, upcycled or biodegraded for the utmost sustainability.”

Thousand Fell lace-up shoes© Thousand Fell (used with permission)

When the sneakers reach the end of their life, customers can send them back to Thousand Fell using a pre-paid shipping label. If the shoes can be cleaned up and donated, the company will do that; otherwise, they'll be broken down into their component parts to make recycled raw materials, and then converted back into usable materials and reintroduced into the company's supply chain. As explained to TreeHugger over email:

“[The] team is going to be collecting the worn sneakers and then physically separating the rubber outsoles from the food waste structural pieces and the recycled water bottle upper. These materials will all be ground back down so that they can be reused to either make new sneakers or upcycled locally.”

The parts of the sneakers made from food waste will be composted and should biodegrade in less than year, making it a “more sustainable waste solution than recycling.”

It's a brilliant concept that has potential to shake up an industry that currently sends 97 percent of footwear to landfill. Thousand Fell sneakers come in two styles, lace-up and slip-on, and are available for men and women. They are all white with five options for accent colors on the heel – pink, green, blue, black, or grey. They retail for $120. You can order a pair here.