Textile Insight

Fall 2023

Issue link: https://viewer.e-digitaledition.com/i/1510018

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Page 35 of 67

W hen it comes to footwear manufacturing, new technology and material innovations are rolling out each day, sparking a fever pitch of energy, excitement and major breakthroughs across the industry. In recent history, achieving true circularity seemed like an insurmountable feat. However, there are breakthroughs happening every day. Advancements in footwear are making true sustainability - and circularity - something that is now within reach. OrthoLite, the global leader of comfort and performance insoles and footwear materials solutions and the creator of OrthoLite Cirql™, the world's first circular foam material solution for footwear, is proud to be at the forefront of the global sustainability initiatives in footwear through its development and application of biopolymers. Glenn Barrett, founder and CEO of OrthoLite, remarked, "At OrthoLite and OrthoLite Cirql, we commend our industry peers in the continued commitment and work we're all embracing to build less-impactful shoes. For OrthoLite Cirql, we sought a bio-based polymer that could fully biodegrade. The goal with OrthoLite Cirql is visionary: a footwear foam with a circular, end of life solution." To move toward that goal, OrthoLite needed to source a polymer with the right chemical structure, the right performance qualities, and the capacity to scale from responsibly-sourced with a percentage of renewable materials. The world of biopolymers is complex but understanding biopolymers and why they matter is critically important for the footwear industry to create less impactful materials solutions and effect lasting, meaningful change. Footwear Polymers and Foam 101 It all begins with a polymer. To say that not all polymers are created equally is an understatement that undermines the serious environmental impacts some foams can inflict. In the world of comfort and athletic footwear, traditional plastics- based foam is a "go-to." Most of that foam does not have an end-of-life solution built in due to the source polymers and/or foaming processes. For OrthoLite Cirql, the company sought a bio-based polymer that could be fully biodegrade. What is a Biopolymer? A polymer is any repeating chain of smaller chemical units, known as monomers. Monomers are atoms or molecules that have the capacity to bond together. Polymers can be human-made or naturally occurring. In the human-made category, for example, all plastics are polymers. Meanwhile, naturally occurring polymers include rubber, silk, wool, cellulose, and proteins from amino acids, among others. Rounding back to biopolymers is where things get a bit confusing. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION 36 • Textile Insight ~ Fall 2023 OrthoLite Cirql redefines global footwear innovation through its use of biopolymers Biopolymers Shape the Future of Footwear Who We Are OrthoLite is the world's leading supplier of open-cell foam technology, and the innovator and creator of OrthoLite Cirql™, the patented, revolutionary alternative to conventional plastics that provides footwear brands and their factory partners with the most sustainable, circular choice in materials. OrthoLite's innovative footwear solutions are available to brands that share a vision for the future of sustainable footwear. Currently OrthoLite is found in more than 550 million shoes across all categories each year from brands such as Adidas, Altra, Asics, Brooks, Clarks, Converse, Danner, ECCO, Fendi, HOKA, Hugo Boss, Justin, New Balance, On, Reebok, Rothy's, Salomon, Skechers, The North Face, Timberland, Toms, Under Armour, and Vans. OrthoLite has a long-standing history of meaningful partnerships and sponsorships that demonstrate a dedicated commitment to supporting its customers, consumers, brand partners and the footwear industry. OrthoLite is the Official Insole sponsor of the New York Yankees, and strong supporter of the Two Ten Foundation. Contact info https://www.ortholite.com/contact-us/

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