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Alex Witty, Founder, was studying Product Design at the University of Brighton during the 2020 Covid lockdown. Specialising in sustainability and circular economies, He embarked on this pioneering project with limited access to university facilities owing to Covid restrictions. In the house I was sharing with fellow students, using unconventional methods, I experimented with recycling materials such as ocean plastic, coffee and seaweed, using rows of panini presses and the shared student house oven, much to the frustration of my housemates.
"During this time, the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled owing to Covid and 1,800 brand-new tyres were scrapped and shipped back to the UK for incineration. That revelation motivated me to address the colossal waste generated by the motorsport and sneaker industries. The solution? Compound Footwea
Compound Footwear’s objective is to avoid the use of fossil fuels, reduce the number of different materials that make most sneakers un-recyclable, utilise sustainable, recycled materials and incorporate used motorsport waste - principles inspired by NASA’s In-situ Resource Utilisation.
Compound Footwear’s motorsport-inspired sneakers are crafted from race-worn tyre rubber combined with recycled natural rubber to create their shoe soles. The uppers are made from eco-leather using a natural vegetable tanning process, with recycled polyester laces and lining. At the end of their natural life, Compound Footwear sneakers can be recycled into 100% reusable raw clean materials for new shoes and products
Currently, 25 billion pairs of shoes are manufactured each year globally using virgin materials, which prove very difficult to recycle owing to their complex design and the number of materials used. A staggering 22 billion pairs end up in landfill where they release harmful chemicals into the soil and groundwater, causing a global health and waste management crisis.
Global shoe production releases as much CO2 into the atmosphere each year as the emissions of 66 million cars, creating a carbon footprint that accounts for 20% of the world’s fashion waste, which produces 10% of all global CO2 emissions - more than all maritime shipping and international flights combined.
The production of tyres also creates an enormous waste problem, with 2 billion tyres produced annually (equivalent to 5 million tyres a day) and 1 billion tyres reaching the end of their life each year.
Motorsport, including Formula 1, GT racing, rallying and Indycar, consumes over 600,000 tyres in a single season, most of which become waste after each race, or even just a few laps. Formula 1 alone discards over 40,000 tyres annually, which are sent to UK concrete factories to be incinerated.
Compound Footwear’s sneakers are a fusion of cutting-edge motorsport-inspired designs and sustainable materials that turn heads while reducing environmental impact. By choosing Compound Footwear, consumers will play a role in a cleaner future – one shoe at a time.
Compound Footwear invites fashion-conscious consumers to join the movement, where every step taken is a step towards a cleaner, greener future.
Founders Club is a limited edition line of sustainable motorsport-inspired clothing exclusively designed for the first supporters of Compound. This line features unique items made from recycled and upcycled materials, such as manufacturing offcuts that would have otherwise ended up in landfills or incinerators.
By joining the Founders Club, you not only get access to exclusive and limited-edition clothing but also become part of our mission to reduce waste in the fashion and motorsport industry.
To our fellow founders, welcome to the club.