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December 2007

Brooks Sports introduces biodegradable athletic shoe

Brooks Sports, Inc. introduced its BioMoGo, the world’s first biodegradable midsole. Brooks designed its new BioMoGo midsole to biodegrade 50 times faster than conventional athletic shoes.

BioMoGo midsoles include a non-toxic, natural additive that exponentially increases the rate of biodegradation by encouraging anaerobic microbes to biodegrade nutrients into reusable byproducts.

While traditional ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) midsoles can last up to 1,000 years in an enclosed landfill, extensive tests have proven that BioMoGo can biodegrade in roughly 20 years when placed in the same environment. By using BioMoGo in its shoes, Brooks will save nearly 30 million pounds of landfill waste over a 20 year period.

Through the benefits of this technology, BioMoGo provides runners more cushioning, more rebound, a softer first feel, less wear, and consistent performance across varied temperature ranges. Without losing durability or performance, BioMoGo significantly lessens environmental impact once retired shoes hit an enclosed landfill.

BioMoGo enhances a type of biodegradation that requires the simultaneous occurrence of three environmental conditions: the absence of oxygen, the presence of many microbes, and the existence of moisture. This biodegradation cannot occur without this “triple convergence.” These three environmental conditions cannot be found in places were shoes are worn or stored. Biodegradation can only happen once a shoe has been thrown away and buried deep in an active enclosed landfill. This makes the carbon that was locked up in the original petroleum available for plants and animals to use for growth.

Although the application of BioMoGo technology to footwear involves valuable intellectual property, Brooks decided at the outset that it would treat its new midsole discovery as an “open source” innovation.

In addition to landfill reduction, BioMoGo’s production process is derived from the same Compression Molded Preform (CMP) midsole manufacturing process used to produce MoGo. CMP is an efficient, environmentally friendly production method that reduces material waste by 50 percent and increases material consistency by 200 percent.

BioMoGo will make its debut in the Trance 8 premium support shoe on July 1, 2008. All shoes in the Brooks performance running footwear continuum will incorporate BioMoGo by the end of 2009.