Sports footwear label Reebok has released the first in what it promises will be a series of sustainably made shoes: the Reebok Cotton + Corn sneaker.
The sustainable products program was announced early last year. Since then the company has been organising supply chain for suitable materials and developing durable products.
According to the company, the Reebok Cotton + Corn sneaker is made from 75 per cent USDA-certified bio-based content, including a 100 per cent cotton upper, a corn-based sole and insoles made from castor bean oil.
Only limited quantities are on sale – on Reebok’s e-commerce site – where they are priced at US$95 a pair. They are shipped in 100 per cent recycled packaging.
The Reebok Cotton + Corn sneaker initiative resulted from a partnership with DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products.
US retail industry news site Retail Dive comments the shoes are priced “surprisingly” affordably.
“But, like many innovative footwear lines, market availability of this initial shoe model is very limited, and Reebok will probably need to release the next products from its Cotton + Corn family a bit faster than the 16 months it took to bring this shoe to market if it expects Cotton + Corn to have some strong positive impact on its bottom line.”
The Reebok initiative is one of many within the footwear industry to reduce reliance on petroleum-based ingredients. The company’s parent Adidas is developing shoes from recycled ocean waste.
And Hugo Boss recently released shoes made from pineapple fibre which would have otherwise been discarded as waste by Philippine farmers.