Produce, use, reuse - with its Cyclon running shoe, Swiss sports brand On closes the product cycle. The high-performance shoe is an item of clothing that you can never really own. When the running shoe reaches the end of its life, it is traded in at the manufacturer for a new pair. Sounds crazy, but that is exactly how On hopes to make the textile industry a little greener.
The running shoe is the first product of the eponymous Cyclon project, with which the company wants to sustainably change consumer behaviour in the fashion industry and break the usual, linear product life cycles. It plans to launch the shoe at the end of the year. At the moment, the product is only available online with pre-registration on the brand’s website.
Cyclon is the “beginning of the future” for the brand that was founded in 2010 in Zurich: “We are on the way to eventually designing and producing all our products in a circular way and Cyclon is the first step in this direction,” said Viviane Gut, head of sustainability at On, at the Sustainable Fashion Summit 2021 of the Dfv Mediengruppe.
A running shoe that is 100 percent recyclable
Made from two polyamides of the same family, the performance running shoe is wholly and 100 percent recyclable. With the help of the subscription model developed especially for Cyclon, On wants to give consumers a holistic solution. In addition to the circular shoe, the sportswear company also offers a whole new way of consuming.
“After about 600 to 800 kilometres, the shoe is very likely to have run its course. At that point we will send out an email or you can let us know and say 'I think my shoe is coming to the end of its life',” explained Gut. The customer then receives a new pair of running shoes and sends the used pair back to On in the same package for recycling. The manufacturer collects the shoes, melts them down, converts them into pellets and returns them to production. Thus, no waste is created and no new materials are needed for the next model. The running shoe subscription costs 29.95 euros per month.
No eternal cycle
It is certainly not a cycle that goes on forever according to Gut. However, the company currently expects ten to fifteen recycling cycles. Even if it were only two cycles, that would be better than producing a second new shoe, adds Gut. “The project is a learning journey for us,” she explained. The company is constantly researching and wants to see how the material performs and how consumers react to the concept.
The Cyclon running shoe has already received a dual award this year from Ispo, the largest international sporting goods trade fair in the world. The innovative shoe was voted Ispo Product of the Year 2021 and also received the Ispo Award for Sustainability Achievements.
Cyclon is currently only available online, but brick and mortar retailers are also showing great interest, reports the brand. It has not yet decided whether the shoe will also be available in retail stores. “We definitely need a partnership and that is what we are working on at the moment,” Gut said at the summit. The brand is not worried about the future of its non-circular models: “We want to show that circular products are possible and then see what happens next.”
This translated article was originally published on FashionUnited.de. Edited and translated by Simone Preuss.