Effekt Footwear – the world’s most rubbish sneakers

Vienna-based footwear start-up Effekt Footwear has created the first sneaker ‘Alchemy-X’ that contains more than 90% ocean plastic and recycled fashion industry waste. Each pair of sneakers is manufactured from an average of 775 grams of recycled textile waste, reclaimed rubber, and recovered ocean plastic.

Effekt Sneaker

Ben Smits, founder of Effekt Footwear said that they wanted to develop a sneaker that would set the bar for sustainability and have a good influence on the world. They’re utilizing ’21st-century alchemy’ to transform garbage into sneakers, just like medieval chemists tried to turn base metals into gold.

Smits added that they want to add value to the world by cleaning it up, making a commercial case for upcycling, and reframing people’s perceptions of waste materials.

The trainer takes its name from a medieval technique of trying to convert scrap metal into gold. The low-rise trainer by Effekt Footwear has a pared-back style with a recyclable top liner composed of reclaimed ocean plastic and recycled fabrics.

The company’s European supplier collects material from a variety of sources, including fishermen and Mediterranean Sea beach clean-up programs. Textile scraps, offcuts, and other scrap materials from the Portuguese textile industry are collected before being sent to landfills. 

To create the shoes, plastic is gathered from the ocean floor, floating on the ocean surface, as well as rivers, estuaries, and aquatic ecosystems that lead to the ocean. In a family-owned business in Portugal, the material is then hand-colored using eco-friendly dyes and completed by hand.

The sole is made up of at least 70 % rubber waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill. A small amount of new rubber is added to it to ensure the soles are durable and long-lasting. The only other new material utilized is organic cotton in the stitching, embroidery, and woven tag. The outcome was a shoe made up of 90 % recyclable material that can be readily recycled at the end of its life.

The entire insole is biodegradable, but the rest of the sneaker is built for easy recycling with suppliers. Customers can engage in the Effekt Collekt initiative, in which their trainers are returned to Effekt and recycled after use. Effekt Footwear recycles trainers by breaking them down into new materials that may be reused.

Smits feels that the Alchemy-simple X’s design will allow it to be worn more frequently because it goes with a variety of outfits.

Effekt Footwear’s Alchemy-X shoes, which are available via Kickstarter, seek to help clean up the earth by upcycling waste into raw material, allowing users to have a positive effect while lowering their carbon footprint. According to Smits, this is the most effective approach to save our global seas and ecosystems.

Essentially, this initiative is a sociological experiment to see how consumers feel about repurposing resources to make extremely desirable items. Through their first crowdfunding campaign, the start-up hopes to repurpose over 1000 kg of trash with the goal of promoting upcycling as a valid purpose in the fashion and footwear industries.

21st Century Alchemy

Like the early chemists transforming metal to gold, Effekt footwear turns waste products into high quality sneakers from the leftovers of a throwaway culture. Don’t worry about sounding professional.

Upcycled Waste Materials

The world is transitioning toward a circular economy. Our challenge is to rethink the source and end of life management of the material that goes into our sneakers. This is how we create the worlds most rubbish footwear company.

It began with an idea. How can we create every day footwear that leaves a positive footprint on the planet?

Following the principles of middle age chemists in turning base metal into gold, we use 21st century alchemy to turn trash into trainers.

Carbon Neutral Production

To reduce our impact on the climate, we work with a factory that is powered by renewable energy resulting in carbon neutral manufacturing of our footwear.

We want to manage what we bring into the environment. Our Effekt Collekt programme encourages consumers to return their worn Effekt sneakers so we can reuse materials and keep waste out of landfill.

Sustainable sneaker handmade in Portugal from 90 % upcycled material, including reclaimed ocean plastic, recovered footwear industry waste and recycled textiles.

Our vision is to create sustainable sneakers for the circular economy. We keep our shoes from becoming waste through our circular sneaker programme.

The greatest impact we can create is designing waste out of a system.

Effekt Footwear is built to last with a 12 month warranty to back our claim. We use the highest-quality, lowest impact materials developed in Europe and manufactured with our production partners in Portugal. However, when your sneakers come to the end of their useful life, you can return them to us in exchange for a discount on your future Effekt Footwear purchases.

Effekt Collekt (our take back programme) allows us to responsibly manage your worn out Effekt sneakers at the end of their useful life. All footwear returned to us will be recycled with our material supplier in Portugal where it will be turned back into shoes or other high value products. This keeps waste out of landfill and value in the economy.

Carefully separate your sneakers and mail them back to us. To thank you for been responsible will provide a discount toward your next Effekt purchase!

Package your worn Effekt sneakers and enclose a note with your name and e-mail address (so we can e-mail you your voucher code).

EU customers mail your shoes to: Aubergstrasse 44/11 Linz, AUSTRIA 4040

Customers outside the EU please contact us here