Making a shoe out of thin air.
“We didn’t realize that in creating the shoe, we were actually entering the competition”
The world must find a way to capture CO2 emissions and turn them into valuable resources. Together with NRG and partners, we designed, developed, and fabricated the first “shoe without a footprint” for the launch of COSIA’s Carbon XPRIZE.
The Carbon XPRIZE is a $20 Million global competition hosted by energy company, NRG, to inspire companies and entrepreneurs to develop breakthrough technologies for converting CO₂ emissions into valuable products like building materials, alternative fuels, and consumer products we use every day.
To kick off the competition, 10XBeta was commissioned to create a sneaker that showcased how consumer products could benefit from the use of recycled CO2 at the object, system, and materials level. The process required extensive material science and biochemistry research, as well as support from partners in shoe and fashion design, sourcing, and manufacturing.
As novice shoe designers, we first addressed material science, supply chain, and shoe assembly challenges to enhance our understanding of the the industry at both product and system levels. During this phase, we partnered with leading CO2 recycling company, Novomer, who specializes in turning CO2 into Polyol chemicals. Through this partnership, we developed a proprietary catalyst that reacts with CO2 to create polyurethane, which was then used to make the shoe. Using these base polyols, which are designed to replace conventional petroleum-based polyether, polyester, and polycarbonate polyols, we partnered with Troy Polymers, who helped develop the polyols into a polymers for production and yield a product with an extremely low carbon footprint.
Via this groundbreaking material, 10XBeta created a sneaker that is among the first applications of captured CO2 in consumer goods, while also addressing the aesthetics of form by designing a beautiful and minimal product—bringing new perspective to the aesthetics of environmentally friendly products.
Marcel Botha (Science and Engineering lead)
Berk Ilhan (Design)
Simon Ellison (Fabrication Engineering)
Ellen Crane (Fabrication Engineering)
D’Wayne Edwards (Design Critique)
Andrea Lauer (Fashion Technologist and Shoe Design)
Jeanette Subero (Design and fabrication)
Katie Treidl (3D modeling)
David Ulan (Final Shoe Production)
Aaron Keppel (Sample Shoe)
Anne Marika Verploegh Chassé (First Pair)