Kiwi inventor’s fully compostable shoe design scoops national prize

Industrial Design graduate Rik Olthuis’s design for a fully compostable shoe has seen him walk away with the James Dyson Award national prize for 2020.

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Industrial Design graduate Rik Olthuis created the design after learning the footwear industry produces 1.4 per cent of global climate impacts. Source: Breakfast

Olthuis started the project after learning that the global footwear industry is responsible for 1.4 per cent of global climate impacts.

The Voronoi Runners, named after the Russian mathematician who defined the Voronoi diagram, which was used to help make the shoes, use no adhesives.

“I was inspired to design a sneaker using only biodegradable materials with no adhesives - leading the future of sustainable footwear,” he said.

“The use of adhesives prevents the separation and treatment of materials at the end of the product’s lifecycle.

“Currently, footwear materials focus on performance, which is important, especially in runners. However, what isn’t being considered is what happens to the product once it’s no longer of use.”

Rik Olthuis with his Voronoi Runners. Source: 1 NEWS

Olthuis said 3D printing was critical to the making of the runners.

“It is just the start. This could have a lot of development and go further.”

Olthuis will receive $3500 to go towards his project.