Sustainability is becoming a welcome trend in footwear with the likes of Nike, Adidas, and other popular brands promoting eco-friendly practices. To keep shoes out of landfills when at their end-of-life, recyclable materials seem like the ideal solution. However, a conceptual study from Disassembly Lab explores innovative means to extend the usage of a single pair of sneakers.

No matter how durable the shoes are, they do not last forever. A crucial factor is the type of activity the wearer regularly engages which can damage specific components. Sadly, commercial kicks are not designed for user repairability. Thankfully, many third-party establishments offer such services.

Nevertheless, what Disassembly Lab proposes is a modular platform accessible to the average consumer. According to press materials, this “is a conceptual and formal study aimed at creating shoes integrated into a sustainable marketing system.” The team takes into account parts usually more prone to wear and tear.

Modern manufacturing processes still use stitches and adhesives to keep everything together. Hence, once a section breaks down, users typically dispose of the pair and purchase a new one. Ideally, this is what companies want to rake in the most profit, but the Disassebly Lab prioritizes something else.

The project is helmed by Robin Luginbühl alongside Emma Casella for ECAL. We have 3D knitted mesh uppers and TPU soles as integral pieces of the Disassembly Lab. So far, they have come up with three stylish silhouettes, each with a distinct method of assembly.

Elastics and glue appear necessary to hold everything together, yet this could change down the line. “The aim is to rethink and redefine the way we build and assemble sneakers. This research takes inspiration from various references and explores several distinct concepts,” reads the Disassembly Lab description.

Learn More

Images courtesy of ECAL/Robin Luginbühl/Emma Casella