The project uses about 2.2 pounds (one kilogram) of gum for every four pairs of shoes
Chewing gum is something of a universal pastime, but the consequence is often the amount of gum that is left in the streets when people spit it out. To reduce waste and litter, the city's Iamsterdam marketing organization, designer Explicit Wear, and sustainability company Gumdrop have collaborated to design a shoe from recycled rubber.
Called Gumshoe, the sole of the shoe is made from recyclable compounds (known as Gum-Tec) produced by Gumdrop, and those compounds are made up of 20 percent rubber.
“We discovered that the rubber is made of synthetic rubber. And by breaking down these properties, we were able to create a new type of rubber, ”says Anna Bullus, managing director and designer at Gumdrop.
According to the project, approximately 3.3 million pounds of gum hit Amsterdam's sidewalks each year, and that costs the city millions of dollars to clean up. The project uses about 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of gum for every four pairs of shoes.
The recycled gum that was used was scraped off the streets of Amsterdam. The Gum-Tec compounds are formed as granules and then molded into the sole of the shoe, which also features a map of the city. “We started looking for a way to sensitize people to this problem […] That's when the idea started to create a product that people really want from something that nobody cares about,” said a spokesperson for the collaboration, Jonathan Van Loon.
Van Loon says the compounds are as strong as regular rubber and even smell like rubber, minus all the stickiness.
The Gumshoe project says it is the world's first pair of sneakers made of rubber. In addition to the sole, the rest of the shoe is made of leather. The collaborators are also looking to allow customers to recycle and replace the sole when needed (for a fee).
The creators want to expand the project to other major cities, and they want to introduce an easier and more sustainable way for people to dispose of their gum.
The shoes are available in bubblegum pink or black and red.