We may not give much thought to the insoles that line our shoes – but we use them every day. The global shoe industry churns out 20 billion pairs of shoes each year, and today’s footbeds and insoles use less than 10% recycled materials. ROND set out to change this, by making long-lasting insoles from textile waste that can fit any size and style of shoe.
Combining post-consumer (think, unwanted clothes) and post-industrial textile waste (like trimmings left on cutting room floors, outworn uniforms and stock from discontinued lines), the team behind ROND are saving unwanted fabrics from entering landfill, where they would otherwise create polluting greenhouse gases. They are able to make use of natural, synthetic and mixed fibres, so that nothing goes to waste. By using these materials, they’re preventing virgin textiles from being created – and the water demands, air pollution and land usage needed to make them.
ROND’s founders Simon & Louise explain how the team found their focus. “We realised that the shoe market is a large and lasting industry with a big environmental impact, but great potential for innovation. Designing a whole shoe – especially one that is truly sustainable and scalable – is a huge and daunting task, which is why we decided to start by focusing on just one core element of the shoes.
ROND’s insoles are designed to last, and to lengthen the life of your shoes. Once worn out, they can then be recycled themselves – creating a truly circular solution.
“We as consumers and manufacturers need to be more respectful to our surroundings, and be more effective in regards to our raw materials and resources,” Louise adds. “Our idea is based on an ethical, ecosystems mindset, where not only the final product is in focus, but the complete ecosystem. We can offer full transparency with regards to manufacturing, logistics, use and recycling data.”
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Louise Egebro & Simon Grønlund, founders
ROND are finalists in 2020’s European Social Innovation Competition, which is organised by the European Commission, with the support of a consortium of organisations. The consortium is led by Nesta Challenges and includes Kennisland, Ashoka Spain, the European Network of Living Labs, and Scholz & Friends. ‘Reimagine Fashion: Changing behaviours for sustainable fashion’ calls on applicants to find new, creative ways to reduce the overall environmental footprint and improve the societal impact of the fashion market, so that we can bring the joy back into fashion, without the harm.