The Life Cycle Of The Common Shoe (Calceus Ludus)

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The Life Cycle Of The Common Shoe (Calceus Ludus)

Life Cycle of the Common Shoe(Calceus ludus)



By Brooks HenryAnderson 5th


Shoes are composed of primarily polyurethane foam, nylon cloths and fabrics, and rubber. Both the foam and nyon are chemically synthesized in their creation. The rubber is a petroleum derivative. Shoes are typically found fully developed in a protective casing known as a box which is filled with paper that covers and fills the inside of the shoes. The box and paper are created using wood pulp. Shoes are always found in pairs in their boxes, one left and one right.

Shoes normally have a lifespan of several years. Despite this some species of shoe, such as C. scorteus, may last for upwards of 5 years. However other species, such as C. puerilis, only have a lifespan of around 6 months.

Interacrtions with Other Species

Shoes appear to have a commensalistic relationship with humans, providing the human's feet protection and structural support. It is unknown why shoes do this, as they appears to recieve no benefit from this relationship. One human may partner with several pairs of shoes at one time. Males tend to have fewer partner pairs than females, as they tend to favor functionality over appearances, as females tend to. Shoes also are preyed upon by various species of canid. This includes the dog (Canis domesticus), further confounding the shoes reason as to partnering with humans. Once a human no longer needs the partnership of a pair of shoes, the shoes will either find another partner or die.


Once a shoe reaches the end of its life it is either recycled into something else or ends up in a garbage dump. Once in the dump the shoe begins to decompose. This process takes different amounts of time based on the different structures of the shoe. The box of the shoe separates from the shoe very shortly after the shoe begins its first partnership with a human and takes only several weeks to decompose. The nylon fabrics in the shoe itself will take 30 to 40 years to decompose, and the rubber sole takes anywhere from 50 to 80 years to fully decompose. The nylon may release harmful chemicals such as hydrogen cyanide during the decomposition process.


Thankfully the majority of the shoe can easily be recycled. In fact, Nike has a program that takes worn-out, unwearabe shoes and recycles the materials into new shoes, other sportswear, and flooring for gyms, playgrounds, and sports fields.

The 3 R's

Reduce:There isn't much of a way to reduce the shoe population, as parnterships with humans will continue for the forseeable future.Reuse:Here the shoes have more opportunities. Especially with species such as C. puerilis, a pair of shoes may have several partner humans throughout its lifetime, extending its effective lifespan.Recycle:As with Nike, several companies can recycle the shoes into new materials near-endlessly. This means the vast majority of the waste shoes leave behind can be eliminated by recycling the shoes.


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