One of the biggest downsides of city living is the inevitability that you will step in something unpleasant during your days strolling about town. While there are certainly grosser things to step in, used chewing gum is probably one of the most annoying things to find stuck to your shoes. Now, there are a few companies taking up the mantle in order to find a way to repurpose those sticky wads of gum, before they find themselves stuck to your soles.
Explicit Wear, Gumdrop, and Iamsterdam, an apparel designer, sustainability firm, and a marketing company have joined forces to create a shoe made out of recycled chewing gum.
Gum and rubber aren’t entirely dissimilar substances, as the companies found when they developed a shoe sole fabricated from chewing gum. “We discovered gum is made from a synthetic rubber. And by breaking down these properties, we were able to create a new type of rubber,” Anna Bullus, the managing director and a designer for Gumdrop shared.
The initiative is being undertaken in part to help dispose of the 3.3 million pounds of gum that are discarded directly onto the pavement of Amsterdam each year. Named the Gumshoe, the soles are made up of a composite material partially produced by gum, which has been titled Gum-Tec.
“We started looking for a way to make people aware of this problem […] That’s when the idea began to create a product people actually want from something no one cares about,” Jonathan Van Loon, a company representative, told The Verge.
While the sole itself is made from Gum-Tec, the rest of the shoe will have a leather upper. As the shoe is coming to the final stages of design, the producers are wondering whether to offer customers the option to replace soles for a nominal charge after they’ve worn out.