A university graduate who started creating trainers from recycled Formula 1 tyres in his bedroom is set to launch his new business.

Alex Witty began making tyres from his University of Brighton bedroom during the Covid-19 lockdown by melting seaweed in panini presses.

Now, the Sussex entrepreneur is about to launch his new business selling trainers made from sustainable materials including racing tyres.

Alex, 25, said: “As the university facilities were closed due to Covid, it forced me to convert my bedroom into a workshop, where I was recycling materials such coffee and ocean plastic in rows of panini presses and melting seaweed polymers in the student kitchen. I wasn’t winning any Flatmate of the Year awards that year!

“It was during this time that the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled and I heard that 1,800 brand-new tyres were scrapped and shipped back to the UK to be incinerated. I was shocked to find out that most motorsport tyres are burnt after each race and felt that surely I could find a better use for them.”


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Alex, originally from Bath, created the shoes while studying Sustainable Product Design at the University of Brighton and will launch Compound Footwear tomorrow with a Kickstarter campaign.

The shoes are inspired by motorsports and use recycled tyres from racing series including Formula 1 and Formula E.

The Argus: The compound trainersThe compound trainers (Image: Compound Footwear)

The business has garnered support from a number of prominent businesses within the motorsports industry including Stuart Pringle, the managing director of Silverstone Racing Circuit where the British Grand Prix is held.

He said: "As the home of British motorsport we have a responsibility to lead the way with smarter methods of working and are looking to collaborate with partners on new and innovative ideas to help build a sustainable future for our industry.

“Compound Footwear’s solution to sneaker and race tyre waste along with its mission to create a greener future in motorsport is commendable and we are delighted to be supporting their initiative."

Compound Footwear’s Kickstarter campaign launches on Tuesday, October 24, with early supporters being promised limited edition footwear and clothing.