Lignin-based foams for high performance sports cushioning – step 1

More than 50 million tons of lignin are produced from wood pulping and other biorefinery industries annually. Although bioplastics is a large and growing global market, the proportion of lignin-based bioplastics is negligible today. On the other hand, the global Athletic Footwear Market is expected to reach $196 billion by 2030. Of which, little over 5% covered the ‘sustainable footwear market. This presents an enormous opportunity for growth. High-performance foams for cushioning are at the core of such products. The plastic materials in one sneaker takes about 40 years to decompose in a landfill, and around 300 million sneakers are discarded annually.

RISE has a long history of working with most lignin suppliers. RISE has also over the years developed expertise in modifying lignin into a bendable, stretchable material (elastomer). KRAM has worked extensively with prominent manufacturers of athletic footwear in the sportswear and fashion industries. KRAM also has the unique ability turning new materials into small-scale prototypes, therefore quickly evaluating their potential. This in turn significantly fast-tracks the decision-making process of their customers.

In this project, by combining the material and production knowledge and characterization tools at RISE with the design and prototyping capabilities of KRAM, we will make some small-scale prototypes and test suitability in athletic footwear market. We will study the market potential and look into possibilities to mass-manufacture these materials.


RISE-Research Institutes of Sweden AB and Reed Kram AB.

Budget & time plan

The project’s total budget is 1 MSEK and the project runs during six months – between November 2023 and April 2024.