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5 minute read

The Environmental Impact of Kids' Shoes

By Tasha Rohmetra

Nov 19, 2022


The production of a single pair of synthetic running shoes has a significant environmental impact, with a carbon footprint estimated at 14 to 41 kilograms of CO2-equivalent. The material processing and manufacturing stages make up a large portion of this impact, ranging from 29% to 68% of the total. To put this into perspective, the daily carbon footprint of an individual in India is just 1.5 kilograms, making the impact of manufacturing a single shoe up to 10 times greater.

On a larger scale, the shoe industry produces over 20 billion pairs of shoes each year, resulting in the release of 30 million tons of CO2 annually. Additionally, the industry generates a significant amount of waste, with 1.2 million tonnes of post-consumer shoe waste produced each year. Unfortunately, recycling is not common in the footwear industry, with only 5% of end-of-life shoes being recycled and the rest ending up in landfills. These shoes can take hundreds of years to decompose due to the plastic foam used in the midsoles of many running shoes.

The children's footwear industry also has a significant environmental impact, as the global consumption of shoes for children aged 0-9 years old is 220 million. Given the rapid growth of children's feet in the first 10 years of life, these shoes are often outgrown quickly, leading to even more waste.

At Aretto, we aim to reduce waste not only by reducing consumption with 3x growth in 1 shoe, but the manufacturing process for our uppers is also such, that it limits the waste produced. Our 3D knitting technology allows for a single machine to produce a complete shoe upper that can be directly connected to the shoe, resulting in less waste compared to traditional manufacturing methods. This, combined with our efforts to reduce consumption, allows us to minimise our environmental impact.

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