Green Scene: Biodegradable Sneakers?

Lightening your planetary load - sneaker style
Lightening your planetary load - sneaker style

Ready to start composting your shoes? Brooks Sports has found a way to make ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)–a material commonly used to provide cushion in running and hiking shoe midsoles–biodegrade at a much faster rate than normal. The trick is adding an organic compound that helps microorganisms do their work. Essentially, it gives the microbes, a key ingredient in anaerobic decomposition, a place to start feasting. The change doesn't affect performance of the shoe, and the altered EVA breaks down 50 times faster than standard EVA (in 20 years versus 1,000). Brooks is releasing the first shoes with the greener midsoles, called BioMoGo, this summer. Company officials say they will share the technology, which also works for polypropylene, so other manufacturers can use it as well. If widely adopted, it has the potential to reduce the amount of EVA in the world's landfills by billions of pounds. Look for BioMoGo in the Trance 8 runner ($140, brooksrunning.com).