This Week’s Opportunity for Change: Running Shoes

This week’s Opportunity for Change is running shoes. Any runner will probably agree that there is no better way to kick start the day than with a solid morning run.


Running can be a very personal thing and obviously doesn’t require a lot of “stuff” other than you, the road, and a halfway decent pair of lace-ups.

Runners may or may not know this, but running shoes are comprised of a large percentage of ethylene vinyl acetate foam (EVA foam). Conventional EVA foam is derived from non-renewable petro-chemicals and can last as long as 1,000 years in a landfill. With over 20 billions pairs of shoes produced annually worldwide (all types), it’s imperative that alternative material solutions start to make their way into the forefront.

What BLOOM Foam brings to the running shoe market is renewable biomass content (between 15%-60% depending on the formulation). The renewable content is derived from algae biomass collected from waterways worldwide. Not only does the algae biomass collection turn a negative into a positive through the action of removing the algae from waterways and putting it to use in shoes, but it has other beneficial aspects too. For example, an average pair of running shoes might have a pound or more of foam contained in it’s various components. If that foam were to be made from BLOOM it would sequester the equivalent of approximately five standard 12” balloons (think birthday balloons) full of carbon from CO2. Extrapolated over tens of millions and even billions of pairs of shoes, and your left with the potential for an astronomical amount of balloon-equivalent carbon capture. Why use balloons for this example you ask? That’s easy, they are a good visual aid for the sake of discussion.

BLOOM Foam also has several performance advantages over conventional EVA foam.

  • Primarily, initial lab results are showing a slight but meaningful weight reduction in algae-derived foam versus conventional EVA foam in the same density. This could be a big deal for the hyper-competitive running shoe market that constantly strives for near weightlessness.
  • Secondary performance advantages are also being quantified for BLOOM Foam, though more third-party research is needed to prove them before they can be discussed in detail.

All in all, BLOOM Foam is a drop-in replacement for conventional EVA foam and a good choice for runners and shoe designers alike. #algae #‎opportunityforchange