Lubrizol Engineered Polymers, based in Cleveland, Ohio, has introduced a 100% TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) prototype shoe that meets the high-performance expectations of the footwear industry while also improving recyclability and reducing waste.
In contrast to traditional footwear products which are made with mixed materials, Lubrizol’s 100% TPU prototype shoe, serves to increase circularity by having a single core material. The prototype shows how Lubrizol's innovative TPU solutions for footwear work together, including Esdex for upper yarns to keep shoe construction lightweight, and BounCell-X for foam, which is low density, plasticizer-free, and recyclable material used for cushioning, and Estane TRX as a functional alternative to rubber outsoles.
Through improved compatibility between parts, these TPU materials simplify production. TPU materials also enable in-mould adhesion during the shoe soling process, increasing automation and efficiency, while reducing multiple gluing processes.
Shoemakers can reclaim and reuse scrap in their own operations thanks to post-industrial recycling alternatives, which make post-consumer recycling easier by regrinding old shoes and reusing components into new ones.
A significant component is Estane Eco TPU. It's made from natural resources and has the same mechanical, physical, and chemical qualities as TPUs made from petroleum. Estane Eco helps meet the requirements for lightweight and high-performance qualities in sports shoe production by having a 5-10% lower density than typical TPUs of the same hardness. Due to its high transmittance, resistance to yellowing, and compatibility with other materials, this sustainable material grade also aids in the creation of footwear.
The majority of the components in the new prototype shoe are the result of multi-year collaborations with prominent athletic shoe manufacturers. Lubrizol has become faster, more dependable, and more flexible to the global footwear market as a result of these industry and customer alliances.
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