Photo: Picture Alliance / Contributor
Fashion companies across the globe have been trying to come up with innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprint in recent years, and major shoe brands are apparently no different. That includes Reebok, who recently unveiled plans to craft sustainable shoes made from vegan corn and cotton (that’s vegan corn, not vegans and corn).
It took Reebok awhile to get their sustainable shoes into production, as they announced a desire to develop a sneaker made entirely from “biological materials” last spring. The upper portion of the shoes is comprised of a 100 percent cotton, and a bio-based sole is made from a corn-based plastic substitute, hence the name Cotton + Corn.
“It didn’t start out with corn and cotton. It started out with recycling and compostability. Our issue with recycling is that if you recycle plastic, it’s still plastic. You’re not getting rid of the problem,” Reebok’s Bill McInnis said. “The idea is getting rubber and plastic out of the process and replacing it with natural things that grow, like corn.”
Over 20 billion pairs of shoes are produced every year and over 300 million of those end up in landfills, which is part of the reason Reebok wanted to come up with a sustainable shoe in the first place.
They, of course, aren’t the first sportswear company to make such an effort, as Nike and AllBirds have been crafting sustainable shoes for a few years, while others like Adidas have taken a slightly different path and are using recycled plastics for both their shoes and clothing.
Cotton + Corn shoes are currently available for $95, and Reebok says they plan to further their sustainability efforts with future sneakers becoming biodegradable and compostable. There’s no better fertilizer than stinky, worn-out shoes.