on running cloudprime shoe
(Photo/On Running)

‘On’ Reveals First-Ever Shoe Made From Carbon Emissions: CloudPrime

The Swiss outdoor company debuts ‘CloudPrime,’ a running shoe made from carbon pulled out of the air. 

All shoes are made from carbon. But making shoes out of carbon emissions is unheard of. At least, it was until On announced its new CloudPrime running shoe. Made from CleanCloud, an EVA foam using carbon emissions as raw material, the CloudPrime is a pinnacle of sustainable footwear design, according to On. 

Taking carbon pollution out of the air and turning it into a midsole might sound like science fiction. But it’s all part of On’s vision. It aims to create products that aren’t just fossil fuel-free, but that also contribute to a fully circular carbon economy.

To develop a running shoe with a carbon-neutral footprint, On partnered with LanzaTech, Borealis, and Technip Energies. All three companies are major players in biochemicals, process, and material innovation.

On CloudPrime: Carbon-Neutral Shoe

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LanzaTech’s process uses genetic engineering, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and mechanical and chemical engineering to suck carbon monoxide, emitted from industrial polluters, out of the air.

Fermentation transforms the gas into ethanol, which is then dehydrated by Technip Energies, creating ethylene. Borealis polymerizes the ethylene, creating the EVA plastic pellets. 

From there, On turns that into the midsole of its CloudPrime running shoe. 

on running cloudprime shoe
(Photo/On Running)

The upper part of the CloudPrime running shoe is a polyester-based textile, also made from carbon emissions, in collaboration with the French startup Fairbrics. And for the outsole, On partnered with circular startup Novoloop to make the first chemically upcycled TPU from plastic waste.

This shoe is carbon-neutral from sole to seam and could represent a big step forward in sustainable footwear design.

“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, explained in a press release.

“Five years ago, this was barely a dream. Imagine what can happen in the future as we unlock the potential of alternative carbon sources.”

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Will Brendza

Will Brendza is a writer, journalist, and professional misfit based out of Boulder, Colorado. Will grew up on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains, reenacting "Survivorman" episodes and studying books like "Hatchet," "The Monkey Wrench Gang" and "Into the Wild". He's written on topics ranging from cannabis to local news, the environment and, of course, outdoor gear and adventure. If he's not banging stories out on his computer, you’ll probably find Will skiing or mountain biking (depending on the season)—or drinking beer at some remote craft brewery.