ASICS comes full circle with the entirely recyclable Nimbus Mirai running shoes

The Japanese brand's latest performance footwear is designed to be returned once you've finished using it

Asics launches Nimbus Mirai fully circular running shoes
(Image credit: ASICS)

In a bid to tackle the staggering waste crisis plaguing the footwear industry, Asics is stepping up its game with the launch of Nimbus Mirai – a performance running shoe designed to be recycled without sacrificing quality or performance.

The announcement comes amidst growing concerns over the environmental impact of discarded shoes, with a staggering 95% of footwear worldwide ending up as landfill waste annually.

One of the standout features of the Nimbus Mirai is its innovative design, crafted from lightweight polyester with no overlays, which ensures easy sorting for recycling at the end of the shoe's life cycle, further minimising its environmental footprint.

"Creating the mono-material upper was a lot more challenging than we thought," says Chris Ekman, Senior Innovation Manager, Performance Running Footwear at Asics, "Everything from the eyelets to the laces and stitches had to be the same material."

But Asics didn't stop there. They've developed a special type of glue that promotes easier recycling, allowing the shoe to be dismantled effortlessly for its next life cycle. In fact, the upper is designed to detach from the sole, ensuring that no part goes to waste.

Asics launches Nimbus Mirai fully circular running shoes

(Image credit: ASICS)

"We even played around initially to see if the upper can be stitched on," he explains, "But the fit was not good." 

"Instead, we created glue that's almost like these little capsules. When you heat it to just under 200 °C, it expands, and you can pull the shoe apart."

In a nod to sustainability goals, Asics has confirmed through testing that 88.7% of the upper material can be successfully recycled into new polyester material, ready to be remade for another run.

Will people recycle the shoes, though? The success of the Nimbus Mirai project very much depends on the participation of runners who will use the shoes.

Interestingly, the interviewee asks the right question: "How do you make recycling cool?"

Then promptly answers it: "Our best option right now is to raise awareness about this whole programme, not to shame people into contributing but highlighting the industry's wastefulness instead."

One of the main concerns with similar recyclable shoes is durability. Will people get the same bang for their buck with the Nimbus Mirai?

"We're not concerned about durability or usage, but we had to run it through a lot more testing than usual," says Chris. "Lifecycle is similar to the mainline Nimbus, especially since the two shoes use the same foam underfoot."

Asics launches Nimbus Mirai fully circular running shoes

(Image credit: ASICS)

By the way, this isn't the first time Asics has made a piece of footwear with sustainability in mind. 2022’s Asics GEL-LYTE III CM 1.95 sneaker focused on reducing the shoes' carbon footprint rather than making them fully recyclable.

Will they be able to achieve similar results with the Nimbus Mirai?

"Maybe, through an accumulation of marginal gains, we can get there," he hopes. Also, once the cycle really turns and people latch onto the idea of circularity, we’ll have more raw material, which will eventually reduce the emissions."

Due to the nature of the shoes and the challenge of shipping them to the TerraCycle facility in the US, the Nimbus Mirai will initially only be available in select retail stores, including Paris Aubry, France, Amsterdam, Netherlands and London Oxford Street, UK.

In the US, you can purchase the shoe online at Asics US, at Asics retail stores, including the Meatpacking District store in New York City and through select run speciality partners around the country. 

A few stores in Japan and Australia/NZ will also sell the shoes. However, Asics won’t sell it online via their official channels in Europe. For more information, visit Asics today.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.