Lubrizol Helps Enable the Circular Economy with 100% TPU Prototype Shoe

September 22, 2021

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Lubrizol Engineered Polymers announces the launch of its first 100% TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) prototype shoe. The prototype meets the high-performance demands in the footwear industry while achieving greater sustainability through enhanced recyclability* and less material waste. 

Incinerated shoe waste and non-recyclable material scrap has contributed to increased carbon emissions, heightening demands for sustainability in the footwear industry. Footwear manufacturers can now partner with Lubrizol to deliver a sustainable end-to-end solution with performance and circularity at its core.

Efficient Production, Responsible Consumption

In contrast to traditional footwear products made with mixed materials, Lubrizol’s 100% TPU prototype shoe helps enhance circularity by being composed of one core material. The prototype demonstrates a combination of Lubrizol’s advanced TPU solutions for footwear that work together to enable simplified production through improved compatibility between parts. TPU materials also allow for in-mold 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. 

Bio-Content Grades

ESTANE® ECO TPU, a renewable-sourced polymer from Lubrizol under the Bio TPU™ portfolio, is a key component of the prototype shoe. ESTANE ECO TPU is derived from natural resources and delivers the same outstanding mechanical, physical, and chemical performance properties in comparison with petroleum-based TPUs. With a 5-10% lower density than traditional TPUs of the same hardness, ESTANE ECO TPU helps meet the requirements for lightweight and high-performance attributes in sports shoe production. This sustainable material grade also enhances footwear development because of its high transmittance, resistance to yellowing and compatibility with other materials.  

A Partnership with Industry-Leading Processors 

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 adaptable to global footwear market needs.

Today, the importance of environmental protection and sustainable development has reached a global consensus. Lubrizol’s innovative solutions are designed to support the upgrading and development of global footwear industry with more eco-friendly materials and more customized processing, helping our customers increase the circularity impact of their products.

* Recyclability is based on access to a readily available standard recycling program that supports such materials. Products may not be available in all areas.

Nothing contained herein is to be considered as permission, recommendation, nor as an inducement to practice any patented invention without permission of the patent owner.


About The Lubrizol Corporation

The Lubrizol Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is a specialty chemical company whose science delivers sustainable solutions to advance mobility, improve wellbeing and enhance modern life. Founded in 1928, Lubrizol owns and operates more than 100 manufacturing facilities, sales and technical offices around the world and has more than 8,000 employees. For more information, visit

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Media Contacts

Laura Hall, Global Marketing Director