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Lubrizol sports shoe is 100% TPU

Single core material enables simplified production through improved compatibility between parts.

27th September 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Cleveland, OH, USA


Lubrizol Engineered Polymers, of Cleveland, Ohio, has launched a prototype 100% TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) prototype shoe meeting the high-performance demands of the footwear industry while achieving enhanced recyclability and generating less material waste.

In contrast to traditional footwear products made with mixed materials, Lubrizol’s 100% TPU prototype shoe helps enhance circularity by being composed of a single core material. The prototype demonstrates a combination of Lubrizol’s advanced TPU solutions for footwear that work together, including: Esdex for upper yarns to keep shoe construction lightweight, BounCell-X for foam, a low density, plasticizer-free and recyclable material used for cushioning and Estane TRX as a functional alternative to rubber outsoles.

These TPU materials enable simplified production through improved compatibility between parts. TPU materials also allow for in-mould adhesion during the shoe soling process, which can increase automation and efficiency, while reducing multiple gluing processes.

Post-industrial recycling options mean shoe producers can reclaim and reuse scrap in their own operations, while helping simplify the process of post-consumer recycling through the regrinding of old shoes and repurposing materials into new goods.

Estane Eco TPU, is a key component. It is derived from natural resources and delivers the same mechanical, physical, and chemical performance properties as petroleum-based TPUs. With a 5-10% lower density than traditional TPUs of the same hardness, Estane Eco helps meet the requirements for lightweight and high-performance attributes in sports shoe production. This sustainable material grade also enhances footwear development due to its high transmittance, resistance to yellowing and compatibility with other materials.

Most of the components used in the new prototype shoe are a result of multi-year partnerships with established producers in the athletic shoe industry. These industry and customer partnerships have made Lubrizol faster, more reliable, and more adaptable to global footwear market needs.


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