These sneakers are made from recycled chewing gum

Photo: Gumshoe

Chewing gum is somewhat of a universal pastime, but the consequence is often the amount of gum left on streets when people spit it out. To reduce waste and litter, city marketing organization Iamsterdam, designer Explicit Wear, and sustainability company Gumdrop have collaborated to design a shoe from the recycled gum. Called Gumshoe, the shoe’s sole is made of recyclable compounds (known as Gum-Tec) produced by Gumdrop, and those compounds are made up of 20 percent 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,” says Anna Bullus, managing director and designer at Gumdrop. According to the project, roughly 3.3 million pounds of gum make it onto Amsterdam pavements each year, and that costs the city millions of dollars to clean up. The project uses around 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of gum for every four pairs of shoes.

The recycled gum that was used was scraped from the streets in Amsterdam. The Gum-Tec compounds are formed as granules and are then molded into the sole of the shoe, which also features a map of the city. “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,” a spokesperson for the collaboration, Jonathan Van Loon, said in an email to The Verge. Van Loon says the compounds are as strong as normal rubber and even smell of gum — minus all the stickiness.

Photo: Gumshoe
Photo: Gumshoe

The Gumshoe project says it’s the world’s first pair of sneakers made from gum. Apart from the sole, the rest of the shoe is made from leather. The collaborators are also looking into potentially allowing customers to recycle and replace the sole when they need to (for a fee). The creators want to expand the project to other major cities, and they want to introduce an easier and more sustainable way for people to get rid of their chewing gum.

The shoes are available in bubblegum pink or black and red. They’ll be available in June for 190 euros (about $232).

Photo: Gumshoe


Wow, these are actual gum-soles. Interesting re-purposing of something rather nasty; I hate stepping on gum.

They’ll be available in June for 190 euros (about $156).

Erm, did something crazy happen to currencies overnight or is there some typo stuff happening here?



Yeah, looks like they ran the currency conversion backward.

So a 1,000% markup on a pack of gum

Are these shoes edible?

Gum was never edible, so I assume the shoes arent either. Unless you fancy swallowing gum.

I think the long term feasibility needs to override initial enthusiasm for something like this. Is there an agreement with the city council to purchase the gum? If so, is there a specialist service that removes gum of the street and has a discrete collection of the gum or do they have to filter through the general garbage to get the gum? Also how much does it cost to refine the gum to make it into a usable component? Is the filtration and refinement process eco-friendly? I’ve seen too many failed eco-friendly looking products to be excited at something like this.

At $232 a pair, they could buy brand-new gum, chew it a bit, and then recycle it and still make a profit.

From The Verge article:

Called Gumshoe, the shoe’s sole is made of recyclable compounds (known as Gum-Tec) produced by Gumdrop

And from the Gumdrop website:

Gumdrop Ltd has been founded on a closed loop recycling process. Gum-tec® is used to manufacture the Gumdrop and Gumdrop on-the-go, pink receptacles designed specifically for the disposal of waste chewing gum. Gumdrops are bright pink and look like strawberry flavored bubble gum bubbles, a fun, colourful replacement for the common blank eyesore of the white splodge. Once the Gumdrop is full, the whole Gumdrop along with its contents of waste gum is recycled and processed to manufacture new Gumdrops, the cycle starts again.

Gumdrop Ltd also collaborate with manufacturers and companies globally to make products from recycled and processed chewing gum.

So apparently Gumdrop has made specific bins that are exclusively for gum.
It’s not very clear how the gum is turned into plastic/rubber once it’s been collected.

This is then recycled and put through our new process in order to create a range of compounds for use in the plastics and rubber industry. Gum-tec® is a sustainable material with a message that will resonate with businesses and consumers globally. Everyday we strive to find innovative solutions that will bring change to help keep our planet clean. Our aim is to work together to eliminate the waste gum output and to deliver innovation on a global scale.

Honestly, I’d be surprised if all of this really was better for the environment than just throwing the gum away with garbage. That processing of used gum can’t be too eco-friendly and the fact that they explain the process with marketing mumbo-jumbo marketing speak doesn’t help.
I’d love to be proved wrong though.

Just imagine~ What it this became popular to the point that people started spitting out even more gum in hopes that it would end up being recycled into these shoes??

This is actually a good idea.

"The Gumshoe project says it’s the world’s first pair of sneakers made from gum. Apart from the sole, the rest of the shoe is made from leather."

That’s a shame, was going to forward these on to my partner who’s vegan! Then… there’s also that price tho (still, good idea)

Heeey that’s pretty gooood.

by referring to pink as bubble gum, these might actually be rap-verse appropriate….I mean who wouldn’t rap about bubble gum sneakers….hoes(the perceived audience of most rappers) love bubble gum, and are particularly partial to Bubble Yum

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