Reebok its very first sneakers made from plants—meaning sustainable as they are stylish.
The Forever Floatride GROW is Reebok’s latest pair of performance running shoes.
The sustainable trainers are USDA-certified plant-based. The vegan sneakers use four key eco-friendly materials: an algae-based sock-liner, an upper made from eucalyptus, a midsole made of castor beans, and a natural rubber outsole.
The Forever Floatride GROWs is unique from traditional running shoes as they do not contain oil or natural gas.
Petrochemical products, such as ethylene-vinyl-acetate, are commonly used in performance running shoes (among other unsustainable materials).
The petroleum-based chemicals give sneakers their signature features: a lightweight, breathable feel, water-resistance, and supportive structure. But Reebok was able to utilize the power of “plants and other renewable agricultural elements” to give their plant-based shoes the same qualities.
Mike Andrews, Reebok’s Director of Advanced Development, told the company focused on plants to reduce the company’s footprint on the planet.
“We need to reduce our waste and our use of petroleum products. Recycling will get us partway there, but we will need to find alternatives for petroleum-based products,” he explained.
“The use of petroleum-based virgin plastics is part of almost every product that’s been sold and has significant negative effects both at the front-end processing of the product during creation and at the back end with much of what the industry creates ending up in landfills where it can last for hundreds of years,” he continued.
Reebok isn’t the only sportswear brand to debut eco-friendly shoes made from plants.
French luxury footwear brand Veja launched what it called the world’s first “post-petroleum” sneaker last year.
The company took five years to develop its vegan CAMPO sneaker range, which features corn leather. Sustainable leather is up to 63 percent biodegradable. And in July, Veja revealed the launch of new vegan sneakers, called Urca, which the company made from food waste.
The Paris-based brand Virón was also founded this year by sustainable footwear experts Mats Rombaut and Julian Romer. The company makes its shoes from PETA-certified vegan or upcycled materials. Instead of petrol-based PVC materials, Virón makes its leathers from apple and corn waste.