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Designer hits the ground running with recyclable shoe

Published: 1:39PM Friday August 26, 2011 Source: ONE News

  • The "transitional" recycleable shoe (Source: Supplied)
    The "transitional" recycleable shoe - Source: Supplied

A recyclable shoe designed for barefoot running has picked up a top award for emerging product design.

Massey University graduate Nicholas Couch won the James Dyson Award for his footwear design in Auckland last night.

The 23-year-old said his shoe helps runners taking up the fast-growing trend of running without footwear, because it allows the foot to move more naturally and reducing injury.

He said he believes his design is the only sustainable barefoot-style shoe that features replaceable and recyclable parts.

He said the so-called "transitional" shows are available on the market, but 350,000 sports shoes are purchased and discarded each year.

"Often, these shoes are discarded when only one part - usually the sole - has worn out while the rest of the shoe remains in good condition but goes to landfill," Couch said.

But his shoe is made up of five parts, each part designed to be discarded only when required, eliminating the need to discard the entire shoe and extending its usable life.

The show is made without glue adhesives, and the discarded part can be broken down into its original material and recycled.

While Couch has researched the marketplace and produced a prototype, the product is at concept stage only and now he's looking for the chance to commercialise his design.

He will now travel to the UK with travelling expenses and accommodation courtesy of the British Council New Zealand, and meet with key members of the UK design community.

The awards are open to design and engineering students and recent graduates. Other finalists included Stuart Smith for a solar-powered lawn mower, and Victoria University graduate, Cameron Lightfoot for his prosthetic leg invention powered by magnets.