A physical footprint isn’t the only thing your running shoes might be leaving behind. According to a 2013 study by MIT’s Materials Systems Laboratory, the average pair of trainers generates about 30 pounds of carbon dioxide, or roughly the same amount as a 100-watt light bulb that’s been on for a week. Undo Labs, a nascent design studio based in Istanbul, wants to ameliorate some of that damage. Its inaugural product? A pair of cotton shoelaces that use carbon offsets to “undo” the worst of the footwear industry’s impact. “Undo Laces is the first product that represents this vision,” Can Özinci, the company’s co-founder, says in a statement. “You buy a pair of Undo shoelaces and Undo Labs offsets the carbon footprint of your shoe. It is simple, and effective.”
Each shoelace comes with a set of magnetic tips, creating a “closed-loop” system that visually and functionally embodies Undo’s ethos. They also make replacing one Undo lace with another a cinch.
“The smart design clears off the biggest pain point about replacing a shoelace,” says Kerem Alper of Atölye Labs, an Undo shareholder. “With our patent-pending mechanism, you only take your old UNDO Laces off, the new one is automatically in.”
The laces, which come in both flat and round versions, as well as myriad colors, are manufactured locally in Turkey, which Undo says it hopes will become a hub of sustainable manufacturing.
“Turkey is a very important shoelace manufacturer. But until today, none has ever made a serious attempt to realize its potential. No other local-global brand has ever focused purely on shoelaces either. So we took it as an opportunity to go ahead and innovatively brand Turkey’s shoelace manufacturing potential,” says Sina Afra, another of Undo’s co-founders. “We hope that it would soon lead to valuable contributions in eco-design and eco-manufacturing, both on an academic and commercial basis, as well as in the growth of green economy.”
With the project still in its salad days, details on just how Undo plans make its offsets remain on the fuzzy side. Buyers will apparently be able choose the projects they wish to back—say wind energy, solar energy, or reforestation—through a dedicated app.
The laces, which come in flat and round versions, three sizes, and myriad colors, are currently available for preorder on Kickstarter, where you can nab them at a discounted rate of $9 per pair.