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New Balance Creates NewSky Sneaker From 95% Recycled Plastic Bottles

BALANCING ACT

Because the recycled fabric behaved differently from typical footwear material, New Balance designers Christine Hall and Drew Spieth had to make adjustments to accommodate the material’s distinctive features. Besides whittling away any extraneous components, Hall and Spieth also borrowed elements from the NB Minimus by using the same pared-down outsole and last. “For the design intent of the upper, the same philosophies are applied—minimizing the amount of materials used so you’re not over-building the shoe, but making it as comfortable as possible,” Spieth says.

An average of eight recycled plastic bottles goes into each pair of newSky sneakers.

The recycled fabric, known commercially as Eco-fi, replaced parts of the shoe that previously utilized foam, leather, or virgin plastic, including the entire upper. Instead for conventional reinforcements such as plastic or leather, Hall and Spieth braced the heel with heavier-weight fabric and strategic stitching along the back seam. “The heel is where most of the reinforcing happens,” Hall says. “But when we doubled-up the material, you don’t need any reinforcement because the material is doing it itself.”

By exploiting the fabric’s unique characteristics through heating, molding, and pressing, the duo was able to strip away many traditional, non-recycled materials. The result is not only a shoe that’s gentler on the planet but also one that looks and feels good. “It was a big goal to keep it functional and looking stylish,” Spieth says. “At the end of the day, it looks like an interesting shoe and also looks great on the foot.”

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4 Responses to “New Balance Creates NewSky Sneaker From 95% Recycled Plastic Bottles”

  1. jrichar7 says:

    Will this be made in the USA?

  2. Pradeep maheshwari says:

    Love the idea and would like to bring it into India. Will you help?

  3. plaidrose says:

    Great to see bottles being re-used for so many different products!! If only we could start making stuff out of styrofoam.

  4. jrichar7 says:

    It won’t be made in the USA. I asked New Balance.

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