We all know that the world has a growing waste problem, partly due to the age of disposable clothing and fast fashion. Apparel and sportswear companies are working to reduce emissions and decrease the products going to landfill, but is it enough? In particular, athletic shoes tend to be made from a great many complicated components, meaning that it isn’t worth it to separate the individual parts for recycling.
For college students and athletes, a big portion of their budget goes to shoes. And, a big part of their closets are likely old and used shoes that are rarely worn any more. If their closets are like ours, they probably have at least six pairs, of which five pairs are very used and dirty and ready to be thrown away.
But what if we didn’t have to enlarge the waste dump? What if we could wear our running shoes until they are worn or dirty, and then just trade it them to be recycled and receive a shiny, clean, new pair?
Sounds complicated, but Swiss sportwear company “On” has a solution. It recently launched the Cloudneo running shoe as is a recycled premium running shoe – but it can’t be purchased, only rented.
For a monthly fee of $29.99, s Cloudneo is a subscription service for not only a performance running shoe, but a fully recyclable plant-based shoe! Castor beans are used as the base, and the shoe upper is sewn from a single piece of fabric to help reduce waste. The shoe contains only nine pieces of material compared to dozens of materials in most brands. And, since dye contaminates plastic, the Cloudneo is only available in white.
On is now shipping more than a million pairs of its Cloudneo athletic shoes each month, plus has added a growing line of sports clothing. The Cloudneo was supposed to launch in 2021, but was held up by the pandemic and supply chain issues. It has also added non-subscription shoes which are sold individually, but can be recycled. On is distributed through retail partners in more than 60 countries, plus direct-to-consumer.
Run, recycle, run again.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss a subscription business model. Poll students: What subscription services do they use? Other services they can name? (Ex: meal kits, shave clubs, entertainment, etc.).
- Poll students: How many running or athletic pairs of shoes do you own? How long do they last? How much do you spend?
- How many pairs of athletic shoes do they have currently? What do you do with your old shoes?
- Show video about the company and its process.: https://youtu.be/tCH7lqkud8w
- Show On Running website: https://www.on-running.com/en-us/cyclon
- Who is the target market? Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
- Divide students into teams. Have each team come up with a promotional plan for Cloudneo.
Source: Ballard, E. (7 July 2022). The 100% recyclable running shoe that’s only available by subscription. Wall Street Journal.; Danziger, P. (4 April 2023). On, the $1 billion Swiss running-shoe company, declares Cyclon its sustainability incubator. Forbes.