Chewing gum is something of a universal pastime, but the consequence is often the amount of chewing gum left on the streets when people spat. To reduce waste and garbage, the marketing organization of the city Iamsterdam, the designer Explicit Wear and the sustainability company Gumdrop have collaborated to design a shoe from recycled rubber. Called Gumshoe, the sole of the shoe is made of recyclable compounds (known as Gum-Tec) produced by Gumdrop, and those compounds are made of 20 percent chewing gum.
"We discovered that rubber is made of a synthetic rubber, and by breaking these properties, we were able to create a new type of rubber," says Anna Bullus, general manager and designer of Gumdrop. According to the project, approximately 3.3 million pounds of chewing gum reach the pavements of Amsterdam every year, and that costs the city millions of dollars to clean. The project uses about 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of rubber for every four pairs of shoes.
The recycled rubber that was used was scraped off the streets of Amsterdam. The Gum-Tec compounds are formed as granules and then molded into the sole of the shoe, which also presents a map of the city. "We started looking for a way to make people aware of this problem […] It was then that the idea started to create a product that people really want from something that nobody cares about," said a spokesperson for the collaboration, Jonathan Van Loon, in an email to The Verge. Van Loon says that the compounds are as strong as normal rubber and even smell of rubber, without all the tackiness.
The Gumshoe project says it's the first pair of sneakers made of rubber. Apart from the sole, the rest of the shoe is made of leather. Collaborators also seek to potentially allow customers to recycle and replace the plant when they need it (for a fee). The creators want to expand the project to other important cities, and want to introduce an easier and sustainable way for people to get rid of their chewing gum.
The shoes are available in pink or black and red chewing gum. They will be available in June for 190 euros (around $ 156).