The modern shoe is a marvel. Responsive, breathable, perfect for running, hiking, strutting; they’re amazing. But they’re also made out of some of the most unsustainable materials on the planet and get thrown away every year because they can’t be repaired.
The carbon footprint of shoe production is huge — nevermind that most are also made out of petroleum-based products. Every year, shoe factories pump 750 billion pounds of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere.
Even for the biodegradable materials like cotton, the odds are stacked against the earth. Conventionally farmed cotton consumes a whopping one third of the world’s insecticides and is a crop so thirsty, it’s literally drained entire seas. Just one cotton t-shirt consumes 2,700 liters of water from crop to shelf.
But you know what’s awesome? People are doing something about it — even the big ones.
Meet the New Plant-Based Shoes
Reebok may be a shoe company first and foremost, but they’re not blind to the problems in their industry. As part of their mission to make what they do more sustainable for planet and people, Reebok has been working on their Reebok Future Line for the past five years.
This series of products is somewhat experimental and brings a lot of new textile technology into the mix. With the help of some brilliant designers and science-y scientists, they’re designing shoes that take less energy to produce, are made of sustainable materials, and actually break down in a landfill.
But there’s one other mission: these shoes can’t just be sustainable, they have to be stylish too. People have to actually WANT to wear them, or none of it’s sustainable because nobody’s buying any of it.
“At Reebok, we thought ‘what if we start with materials that grow and use plants rather than oil-based materials?’ By using sustainable resources as our foundation, and then through ongoing testing and development, we were able to create a plant-based sneaker that performs and feels like any other shoe,” says a spokesperson for the company.
“We like to say, we are ‘growing shoes’ here at Reebok. Ultimately, our goal is to create a broad selection of bio-based footwear that can be composted after use. We’ll then use that compost as part of the soil to grow the materials for the next range of shoes. We want to take the entire cycle into account; to go from dust to dust.”
Reebok experimented with a few materials before settling on cotton and corn. Initially, they looked at recycled plastics, but weren’t impressed — it was still plastic, and it still wasn’t biodegradable. Shoes break down, they wear out, and what we throw away needs to be able to break down without being a detriment to the environment.
The NPC UK Cotton + Corn shoes were born — a pair of sneaks making use of agricultural waste, packaged in recycled plastic, and built to break down when their time is up.
Where Can I Get Them?
Okay guys, here’s the bummer: these shoes are sold out. When word got out about a pair of good looking shoes that were also eco-friendly, stock disappeared FAST, and Reebok’s scrambling to keep up with eager fans who want more of their Corn + Cotton shoes.
There’s good news though. I reached out to Reebok directly, and there’s an ETA on when they’ll be back in stock. There are no guarantees, but the team at Reebok is hoping to have this pair of shoes restocked sometime in November.
Join the waiting list to be the first to know, and snag your pair just in time for the holidays.
Demand for sustainable products has the power to change the world! Tell Reebok that you like them, love them, and want some more of them on Facebook or Instagram, and tag them in the post! @Reebok and @AvocadoMattress
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