With a partnership with outsole maker For Ever, material science company Balena is launching a compostable shoe sole. This is a significant breakthrough for a circular shoe. It is not physically circular but has a circular life cycle.

Breakthrough for Circularity

Biodegradable shoe sole
Biodegradable shoe sole called BioCirFlex Footwear Sole; Photo: Balena

Balena recently introduced a 3D-printed, biodegradable shoe with a circular life cycle. Using similar technology for those shoes and a partnership with For Ever, they developed the BioCirFlex Footwear Soles. Not only are the soles fully industrially compostable but they also showcase a high biobased content. Balena is known for developing compostable and biodegradable thermoplastic materials. The collaboration with the sole manufacturer For Ever is seamless.

For the biodegradable shoe soles, Balena offers their robust bioplastic material called BioCirFlex, hence the name of the shoe soles. The two companies want to meet the demands of the industry while also maintaining environmental responsibilities. They believe the new shoe soles can do that.

BioCirFlex Footwear Soles

ioCirFlex Footwear Soles
BioCirFlex Footwear Soles made with biobased materials; Photo; Balena

Shoes struggle with recycling because of their complex structure, especially the soles. Various types of rubber and synthetic materials often pollute landfills and contribute to environmental pollution and waste. Because they’re compostable with high biobased contents, the soles offer a breakthrough in shoe sustainability and circularity.


The soles experience a circular life cycle as a result of what happens to them at the end of their life. BioCirFlex soles go through a process called biodegradation. It’s a biological recycling mechanism done at an industrial compost facility. This process leaves no negative impact on compost quality or the environment. Balena works with industrial compost facilities across the globe to ensure the soles fully decompose and make their way back to the ground safely.

BioCirFlex shoe soles
BioCirFlex shoe soles go back into the ground; Photo: Balena

Balena’s CEO, David Roubach says, they are proud of the partnership and what it does for the shoe industry. He said, “Demonstrating commitment throughout the entire lifecycle, we take pride in this partnership, offering a sustainable solution that contributes to a circular future in the footwear industry.”

For Ever’s Sales Manager, André Campos agrees. He said, “Embracing BioCirFlex is more than a collaboration and we’re excited to tread this sustainable path with Balena, shaping a future where every step is eco-conscious.”

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