All Nippon Airways (ANA) has announced a program to create limited edition slippers from used seat covers. The upcycling initiative came from employees and is an innovative way to recycle items that would usually be discarded en-masse. The slippers will be on sale in Japan through a lottery starting today.

Focus on sustainability

With tens of thousands of seats across the fleet, ANA has no shortage of used seat covers, a part that requires frequent changes due to its daily use by passengers. Usually, the covers would end up in general waste, but not this time around. In a new initiative, ANA has partnered with apparel firm Onward Trading to upcycle used seat covers into slippers.

The slippers will be in the airline’s well-known dark blue colors, handmade by craftspeople in the Yamagata Prefecture. With the limited availability of usable discarded seat covers, ANA is starting by offering 50 slippers through a lottery system. The footwear is made from covers from the Boeing 767, 787, 737, and DHC Q400s, with distinct colors for each type.

ANA Upcycle Shop

Photo: ANA Upcycle

The slippers will cost ¥6,930 ($47), not cheap by any measure, but reasonable given their unique origin and handmade crafting. ANA plans to offer more special shoes in the coming months through the lottery, so if you miss out on the first round (registration open from November 10th to 16th), there is another chance in December. Notably, there are only 50 slippers on offer across sizes and the three aircraft types, so success in the lottery might be hard.

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Innovative choice

This isn’t ANA’s first foray into offering upcycled apparel. In May, the airline partnered with ROOTOTE to use former mechanic uniforms and create tote bags. The bags were an instant hit, selling out in nine hours, with three subsequent sales all ending with no more stock. Given its popularity, the carrier quickly realized it was onto an idea that could work across its operations.

In a statement, Junko Yazawa, EVP of Customer Experience Management & Planning of ANA, said,

“This product is a true collaboration, with the initial project idea designed by ANA employees as part of an internal proposal program. We are honored to work with Onward Trading Co., Ltd. to bring together both our missions and create a product that aligns with our customers values but also sets an example for sustainability initiatives in the airline industry.”

ANA Dreamliner engine closeup

Photo: Getty Images

While the industry looks at large-scale sustainability solutions such as electric or hydrogen-cell aircraft, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and more, employee-led initiatives on a smaller scale are crucial to keeping the public engaged. Indeed, picking up a limited-edition pair of slippers is far more exciting than paying for carbon offsetting on each flight for most.

However, upcycling has been popular for years now. Companies such as AviationTag have been selling keychains made from scrapped aircraft parts, allowing enthusiasts to keep a piece of their favorite planes and ensuring that the metal fuselage is not going to waste.

What do you think about ANA’s new upcycled slippers? Let us know in the comments.

  • A380 All Nippon Airways MSN266 - ferry flight 2

    All Nippon Airways

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Tokyo Haneda Airport, Tokyo Narita Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Shinichi Inoue



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