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 polymer 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 Industrial 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