25 Jul
The Healthier, Glueless, Self-Assembled Sneaker The Healthier, Glueless, Self-Assembled Sneaker

The Healthier, Glueless, Self-Assembled Sneaker

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Designed to be healthier for the workers who toil in toxic shoe factories, these revolutionary kicks incorporate a strap, manufactured out of a recyclable material, that snaps into the tread of the outsole much like pieces of a puzzle come together. The whole shoe is then held together by laces -- all without a single drop of harmful glue.

The inventor of the glueless shoes, Gyudeog Kim, recently talked to Fast Company about part of the thinking behind his creation: “The first time I went to the production line to see my designs being manufactured, even though there was ventilation, the painful smell of toxic adhesives nearly made me faint,” he said. “It was even more shocking that workers at the production line work eight hours a day within that space.”

The final product, called Ki Ecobe, is assembled at home by customers -- saving factories about 30 minutes per shoe.

Kim explained, "[I]t takes no more than five minutes to assemble your own shoe....So it’s actually much faster and more efficient to assemble your own shoes, and can eventually reduce the cost, similar to flat-pack furniture.”

Another benefit of the self-assembled shoe is that, when one part wears out (like the strap), customers can replace that single part themselves, rather than springing for a brand new pair. And the shoe can be recycled much more easily.

“The reason most shoes are hard to recycle is that they are made of many different materials all glued together,” said Kim. “Taking them apart to properly dispose of each material is very difficult, so most just end up in landfills.”

His main motivation, though, was to improve the health of the factory workers.

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Read 1649 times Last modified on Friday, 14 July 2017 05:05
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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