Reebok is now part of the sustainable fashion movement. Earlier this month the major shoe brand launched its first-ever sustainable sneaker.
The sneaker, dubbed the NPC UK Cotton + Corn, is made from plant-based cotton and corn, and is the premier product from the “Cotton + Corn” sustainable products initiative, which was announced last year.
Reebok partnered with Dupont Tate & Lyle, a leading manufacturer of high-performance biobased solutions, to make the initiative happen.
“They had the best combination of fitting our bio-based product story and having a material that was ready to be turned into a commercial proposition,” Bill McInnis, Head of Reebok Future, tells Organic Authority. “They’ve been a great partner to work with thus far.”
According to the company’s press release the unisex shoes are made of 100% cotton with a corn-based sole. The shoe’s insoles are derived from castor bean oil and are being sold in packaging that is 100% recycled.
With over 20 billion shoes being produced each year, the company was looking for a sustainable solution for their (literal) carbon footprint.
“From our standpoint, a lot of the process and materials for footwear manufacturing are based on petroleum. We’ve always known that oil-based materials are simply not sustainable and we were actively looking for an alternative five years ago,” McInnis says.
“Other options like recycled plastics, for example, are a good start in reducing the creation of new plastic, but they’re still plastic. We see sustainability as an important aspect to all manufacturing and we’re excited to take a leadership position with Cotton + Corn.”
The NPC UK Cotton + Corn is also the only footwear product on the market that has been certified as containing 75% USDA certified biobased content, and McInnis says this is only the beginning.
“As we continue working on making more sustainable performance materials we’ll be able to do more and more plant-based versions of our products,” he says.
The NPC UK Cotton + Corn retails for $95 and currently, the natural un-dyed color is the only available shade. However, McInnis says that the company is “actively working on plant-based dyes for the next release.”
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