Puma Testing RE:SUEDE a Biodegradable Version of Its Most Iconic Sneaker
13 November 2021: Sports company Puma has developed an experimental version of its most iconic sneaker, the SUEDE, to test for a product to make it biodegradable. By doing so, Puma aims to meet the growing demand for sustainable products for a better future. The RE:SUEDE, which uses the latest technology available today, will be made from more sustainable materials such as Zeology tanned suede, biodegradable TPE and hemp fibres.
The RE:SUEDE experiment is a pilot in circularity, and today’s ultimate expression of the next generation SUEDE – with the ambition to set new standards of sustainability for the iconic shoe. Designed to help address the challenge of waste management in the footwear industry, the RE:SUEDE experiment will allow PUMA to take more responsibility when it comes to tackling the ‘after life’ of its products. The pilot will launch in January 2022, offering 500 selected participants in Germany the chance to join Puma on its experimental journey towards circularity.
In partnership with Puma, participants will wear their RE:SUEDEs for six months to test out the durability of a product using biodegradable materials in real life, before sending them back to Puma via a take back infrastructure, designed to move the products to the next step in the experiment.
The sneakers will then be subject to an industrial biodegradation process in a controlled environment at Valor Compostering B.V., owned by Ortessa Groep B.V., a family-run business of waste specialists in the Netherlands. The goal of this step is to determine if Grade A compost can be produced for agricultural use. The findings will help Puma assess the biodegradable process and unpick essential research and development for the future of sustainable shoe consumption.
The RE:SUEDE experiment is the first circular programme to launch under Puma’s “Circular Lab” – a new innovation hub, which is led by Puma’s sustainability and design experts who work to develop the future of the company’s circularity programmes.
This pilot is a recharged, refreshed experiment in circularity, following Puma’s exploration in this space in 2012, which saw the brand’s first attempt to create a biodegradable sneaker as part of its InCycle collection. Yet after four seasons, the sneaker was discontinued due to low demand and the need for further research and development.