How is this for a crazy idea? You get someone like Phoenix Suns All-Star guard Steve Nash to work with you on creating an environmentally friendly shoe. Then you take your manufacturing waste and craft it into a high performance basketball shoe and send it on the court. This is what Nike did when they created their "Trash Talk" shoe. Check out the photo closely and you will see that the upper is made from many tiny pieces of scrap leather stitched together. While this isn't exactly closed loop recycling, it does reduce waste overall and turns those scraps into green.
Thanks to M via A for forwarding the story.
P.S. The Suns won the night Nash debuted the "Trash Talk" shoe.
(This was originally posted on my internal blog at work.)