Brooks Sports first implemented BioMoGo, the world’s first biodegradable midsole, in the Trance™ 8 premium men's & women's support shoe. Brooks designed BioMoGo to be biodegrade 50 times faster than conventional athletic shoe midsoles, making it one of the most significant sustainable technologies to hit the running footwear market.
BioMoGo midsoles include a non-toxic, natural additive that exponentially increases the rate of biodegradation by encouraging anaerobic microbes to break down nutrients into reusable byproducts. While traditional Ethylene Vinyl Acetate™ (EVA) midsoles can last up to 1,000 years in an enclosed landfill, extensive tests have proven that BioMoGo can biodegrade in roughly 20 years when placed in the same environment. By using BioMoGo in its shoes, Brooks will save nearly 30 million pounds of landfill waste over a 20-year period.
Although the application of BioMoGo technology to footwear involves valuable intellectual property, Brooks decided at the outset that it would treat its new midsole discovery as an “open source” innovation and share it with other footwear manufacturers and interested industries.
“Environmental stewardship is an important business pillar for Brooks, and we are committed to creating products that help preserve and, whenever possible, enhance the environment,” said Jim Weber, president and CEO of Brooks. “Sharing BioMoGo presents a chance for greater environmental impact beyond Brooks and supports the spirit with which it was created.”
Without losing durability or performance, BioMoGo will begin to break down only when retired shoes encounter the “triple convergence” of high microbial load, low oxygen, and adequate moisture found in active, enclosed landfills. These three environmental conditions cannot be found in places where shoes are worn or stored. Once shoes have been thrown away and buried deep in an active, enclosed landfill, BioMoGo begins to break down into its component nutrients and releases carbon that plants and animals can use for growth.
“BioMoGo is one of the first cradle-to-cradle product solutions developed for athletic gear,” said Derek Campbell, materials engineer for Brooks’ Future Concepts team. “With the success of BioMoGo, we’re continuing to explore additional sustainable materials and production solutions that will benefit the earth for generations to come.”
In addition to landfill reduction, BioMoGo’s production process is derived from the same Compression Molded Preform (CMP) midsole manufacturing process used to produce Brooks’ industry-leading MoGo midsole. CMP is an efficient, more environmentally friendly production method that reduces material waste by 50 percent and increases material consistency by 200 percent.
Brooks chose to launch BioMoGo in the Trance™ 8 due to its wealth of high-performance footwear technologies, which won its predecessor, the Trance™ 7, the coveted “Editor’s Choice” award from Runner’s World in August 2007. All Brooks performance running shoes featuring MoGo will inherit ground-breaking BioMoGo by the end of 2009.
“With new eco-friendly enhancements and the popularity of the previous model, the Trance™ 8 has received enthusiastic response from our key retail partners,” said Rick Wilhelm, vice president of sales for Brooks. “Runners want performance gear that not only feels good when running, but also instills pride in the brand they’re sporting.”
BioMoGo is the latest project Brooks has initiated to support its sustainability focus. Other examples include incorporating the CMP process, introducing HPR Green rubber, reducing PVC, developing a new environmentally friendly shoe box, and scrutinizing printed collateral pieces and vendor partners for their environmental impact.
The Life Cycle of a Running Shoe
Eventually all shoes will end up in a landfill somewhere in the world. But before that happens, we at Brooks want to encourage you to make the most of your running shoes. Once you retire them from training--or racing, let them continue to lead a happy, long existence in The Life Cycle of a Running Shoe.
Phase One: Your brand-new running shoes
First, enjoy your brand-new running shoes for 300 miles of pure running joy. Use their cushioning and resiliency to give you the perfect ride as you run day after day.
Phase Two: Transition to casual street shoes
Once they pass the 300-mile mark, those trusty running shoes make great casual street-wear. Pair them with jeans for a trip to the grocery store, an outing with your dog, or a day at the park.
Phase Three: Transition to work-around-the-house shoes
Of course, even casual street shoes begin to show signs of age over time. Offer them a change of pace by promoting them to lawn mowing, painting, or gardening shoes.
Phase Four: Retirement from active work life
You may think the next best place for your well-worn, around-the-house work shoes is the trash. But wait one minute! If they are still in good shape, those shoes have more life left to give. They can help someone in need when you donate them to charity. Find a local drop-off center in your community or ship them to a national organization.
Phase Five: A final resting spot
After years of use and wear, those running shoes are ready for their final resting spot in a local landfill. Here, if they have a BioMoGo midsole, parts of the shoe will be returned to the earth as reusable byproducts that can help grow trees and plants.
So make the most of your running shoes and let them enjoy a full, complete, and productive life. They will be happier. And so will Mother Earth.