the Sneaker Sole

For two years, FIT has partnered with Genspace, a synthetic biology lab in Brooklyn, to provide bench space and mentorship to select students using biodesign to research sustainable textiles. At the end of the partnership each year, the Genspace Scholars present their findings to experts in the field for feedback and criticism. The projects often focus on sustainable solutions and alternatives to traditional practices in fashion design, and this year is no exception. One of the Genspace Scholars, Jonathan Mateer, is an Accessories Design student and sneakerhead. Mateer experimented with biofoams that could replace ethylene vinyl acetate, a non-biodegradable plastic foam used to create the soft, rubbery midsoles of most sneakers. He came up with the idea in Performance Materials for Athletic Footwear, a course taught by adjunct faculty member Frank Zambrelli.

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