for the shoe industry by the shoe industry

The most complete training program on shoe sustainability

The Shoe Sustainability Training Center started out as the Shoe Sustainablity Summit - a collaboration between FDRA/FFANY and The Footwearists - but since it grew into way more than just an online event, we are now opening it up to everyone who is looking for a serious education in how to really make shoes more sustainable, circular and even regenerative.
The program has a holistic approach and combines online theory classes, given by Nicoline van Enter, Founder of The Footwearists and of Footwearology, with interviews with experts from all around the world and from each side of the supply chain. These present actual business cases and practical examples of the topics that are discussed in the classes.

The content of both the classes and the interviews are then summarized and reviewed in live webinars and face-to-face Q&A sessions, so participants in the summit could contribute their knowledge as well.
All this has resulted in an unprecedented body of knowledge on shoe sustainability that everyone can now have access to, not just the participants of the original summit.

We will also keep the knowledge updated and expanding, by adding monthly webinars on topics related to shoe sustainability and organizing specialized "mini summits". For instance, we have a summit in the works about finishing, one of the most essential, but often forgotten topics when it comes to making shoes and other fashion accessories recyclable and biodegradable.
Below you will find an overview of the content of the courses inside The Shoe Sustainability Training Center. You can enroll through FDRA using the bottom below.

Session 1 - Sustainable Shoe Endings: Recycling, Waste Management & Circularity

Classes in Session 1:

Class 1: Intro
Class 2: The Big Picture: An Overview of Footwear Waste Streams
Class 3: Mapping and Tracking Your Waste Streams
Class 4: Understanding Mechanical Recycling
Class 5: Understanding Chemical Recycling
Class 6: Understanding Biodegradation and Composting
Class 7: How to Organize and Finance a Take Back System 

Expert interview topics in Session 1:

  • How lasts can contribute to more sustainable manufacturing and fewer returns
  • Recycling post-industrial TPU waste
  • Regenerative sole material that feeds nutrients to the soil, preventing toxic micro waste
  • FDRA's Shoe Factory Waste Program update and new applications
  • Using Therpol to increase the performance of recycled materials
  • The amazing sustainable journey of Saucony’s new ZERO plastics shoe
  • How to turn trash into trainers and then do it all over again…
  • Teva Forever: recycling worn shoes

Session 2 - Sustainable Shoe Design, Construction, and Production

Classes in Session 2:

Class 1: Intro
Class 2: Designing the lifecycle
Class 3: Resourceful design
Class 4: Digital design and development
Class 5: Design for recycling
Class 6: Design for durability
Class 7: Production on demand
Class 8: Local Manufacturing 

Expert interview topics in Session 2:

  • Using agriwaste and novel supplier development
  • How quality of material and manufacturing processes influences footwear sustainability
  • LCA-led design for disassembly and the importance of developing biofabricated materials
  • How to use digital tools to minimize sampling
  • Designing the lifecycle of footwear from plant-based fibers and fabrics
  • Making recyclable PU and TPU footwear
  • How to shift the fashion paradigm to a fully on-demand system
  • How local to local manufacturing will change footwear design and costing systems

Session 3 - Sustainable Shoe Materials, Certifications, and Standards

Classes in Session 3:

Class 1: Intro
Class 2: Introduction to materials and LCAs
Class 3: Leather
Class 4: Synthetic upper materials
Class 5: Plant-based upper materials
Class 6: Sole materials
Class 7: Certification 

Expert interview topics in Session 3:

  • Sustainable shoe packaging
  • Leather and life cycle assessment thinking
  • Circular leather tanning
  • Advanced leather sustainability from farming to end products
  • Production and certification of bio-based and recycled foam footbeds
  • Global Sustainability Roadmap for plant-based fibers
  • Replacing plastics with 100% plant-based materials
  • Bio-based TPUs
  • Regenerative materials
  • The Lifecycle of plant-based polymers for foams and injection molding 
  • The future of (bio-based) PUs and TPUs 
  • EVA with bio-based and recycled content
  • The importance of third-party certification


  • 3 modules
  • 22 video classes (> 7 hrs)
  • 32 expert interviews (> 18 hrs)
  • 3 recorded webinars and Q&As (> 5 hrs)
  • multiple downloadable sustainability reports from third parties and sponsors

Course Format

This course consists of 3 sessions that each consist of 7 or 8 video classes and several expert interviews. We first discuss the bigger picture of how footwear waste is created and how it can be recycled. Then we talk about how to design for recycling and durability and finally we discuss sustainable materials and certification.

Course Audience

This course is meant for ALL footwear professionals, no matter what part of the supply chain your work in. Our guest speakers also come from all over the world and from all sections of the footwear supply chain, from raw material suppliers to consultants and from designers to e-commerce experts. In order to make the footwear industry really sustainable we need everyone involved. That is why FDRA also has special offers for teams


There are no specific requirements other than being a footwear professional. The course focuses on building strategy, so it might not be for absolute beginners, however, there is lots of knowledge presented that is suitable for everyone.
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This is class 5 from Session 1, about understanding chemical recycling
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This is an interview with Thomas Bogle on how he developed his new regenerative sole material Solum, which offers a solution for the issue of micro plastic waste.