On Running Turns Carbon Emissions Into Cushioning Foam for Midsoles

On Running is a sustainable sneaker brand that’s using science to create what seems impossible. The Swiss footwear company has discovered a way to create high-performance running foam by recycling carbon emissions. Officially trademarked as CleanCloud, this innovative manufacturing process produces sneakers that combat climate change.

To create CleanCloud, On Running partnered with industry leaders LanzaTech and Borealis. LanzaTech is a biotechnology startup providing new solutions to the sustainability realm. Meanwhile, Borealis is an advanced renewable plastics company that specializes in circular solutions. After a four-year development process, CleanCloud was finally formed by intercepting carbon emissions as the building blocks of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foam.

LanzaTech does their magic by capturing emissions from industrial sources before they enter the atmosphere. This is able to happen with the use of genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and advancements in mechanical and chemical engineering. The captured emissions are put through a fermentation process that converts greenhouse gases into liquid ethanol, which is then dehydrated to become ethylene gas. From there, Borealis polymerizes the gas to create EVA pellets, which On Running takes the EVA to engineer the cushioning foam.

This technology is the first of its kind and serves as a major advancement in developing sustainable sneaker options. On Running plans to introduce CleanCloud to other sneaker brands in hopes that they’ll substitute traditional EVA units with sustainable materials. As CleanCloud continues to grow, On Running anticipates expanding the material’s potential to form other parts of shoes and other products in the future.

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