New partnership enables fully compostable shoe soles, at scale
Balena and For Ever team up to address a major circularity challenge — step by step.
20 Feb 2024

According to World Footwear Yearbook, 24 billion shoes are added to the market each year. 90% of the footwear in the market is made of multiple materials and due to the use of, for instance, EVA, some of which are not recyclable and therefore meet their end of life in landfills or incineration. Particularly the soles and their complex construction have proven to be a challenge, made from materials that are difficult to recycle, such as various types of rubber and synthetic compounds.

Developed by biomaterials company Balena, the BioCirflex soles — made of a robust bioplastic material, called thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) — offer a breakthrough by boasting a high biobased content. They also reach their end-of-life responsibly by being fully industrially compostable through the post-industrial and post-consumer recycling paths, as well as through biological recycling mechanism — biodegradation — in an industrial compost facility. This leaves no negative impact on compost quality and the environment. They provide the durability and flexibility necessary for footwear, which meets the demands of the footwear industry, while also being environmentally responsible and widely available thanks to a mass-production scalability of through injection moulding, extrusion, and for 3D printing using filaments or pellets.


Today, Balena announces a partnership with For Ever, the world’s largest outsole makers and traders, at the leading leather fair Lineapelle in Milan. For more than 50 years, For Ever has made soles for some of the most recognised shoemakers in the world. Now, it will be introducing BioCirflex to its catalogue.

— The partnership with Balena is a thrilling journey fuelled by a shared vision of innovation and environmental responsibility. We’re excited to tread this sustainable path, shaping a future where every step is eco-conscious, says André Campos, Sales Manager, For Ever.

According to David Roubach, CEO of Balena, this introduction of compostable soles will pave the way for footwear brands to embrace full circularity.

— It signifies that the vision of a fully compostable shoe is now a tangible reality. Demonstrating commitment throughout the entire lifecycle, we’re offering a sustainable solution that contributes to a circular future in the footwear industry, he says.

Balena for For Ever.