The World’s Biggest Athletic Brands Are Finally Making Sneakers Sustainable

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When it comes to high performance athletic brands – or any successful brand, really – staying innovative and on top of the ever-competitive game means being sustainable and socially responsible.

In fact, being environmentally conscious has moved from a nice added bonus to something that is now expected in the retail world. At a time when many are making a move away from fast fashion and mass consumption, being eco-friendly is a major checkmark to fill for conscious consumers when considering where to drop their dollars. 

In recent years, some of the world’s biggest athletic brands have been making shoes more sustainable by relying on alternative materials like recycled plastics from the ocean and plant-based dyes. But that doesn’t mean they’re compromising performance…

Here are how the world’s biggest athletic brands are making sneakers sustainable:

Reebok

reebok-corn-cotton
Instagram/@reebok

This past May, Reebok went vegan with the launch of Cotton + Corn in Canada. The new vegan sneaker is made from things that grow; constructed from a cotton upper and a corn-based sole, with an end goal to create a shoe that is sustainable both in conception and decomposition. The shoe is the first Reebok USDA Certified Biobased Product and is presented in 100% recycled packaging. Available in unisex sizing, the all-new Reebok Cotton + Corn is now available online, retailing for $130 CAD.

Nike

nike-plant-color-collection
Instagram/@shopatkings

Nike’s summer footwear collection – which will be released throughout the season – is filled with innovative talking points when it comes to forward-thinking ways to approach colour, construction, and materials used in its famous footwear. The Nike Plant Color Collection makes sneakers sustainable. It features the Air Max 95 and the Blazer Low and uses a plant-based dye. Meanwhile, the Nike VaporMax 2 Random uses excess Flyknit yard that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill to create this one-of-a-kind shoe. To mark Earth Day 2019, the Earth Day Pack line features products made with recycled leather scraps and sneakers designed in collaboration with artist Steven Harrington that showcase anthropomorphic images of the Earth.

adidas

adidas-parley
Instagram/@adidasterrex

adidas continues to make headlines in its efforts to better the environment. As part of adidas’ commitments to end plastic marine pollution, it maintains a strong partnership with Parley, a company that produces Parley Ocean Plastic; a range of materials made from upcycled marine plastic debris. adidas and Parley rework these various marine plastic waste materials into technical fibres that create the material framework of a durable and breathable fabric used for running shoes and apparel in their popular adidas/Parley Collection, making sneakers sustainable and stylish!

ASICS

asics-dynaflyte-3-sound
Instagram/@dmzetterlund

The ASICS Dynaflyte 3 Sound Running Shoe offers a sustainable spin to their high-performance, shock-absorbing footwear line. The ultra-lightweight shoes are made with the brand’s new Flyefoam Lyte Technology, which uses waste products from sugar cane and organic fibres from wood pulp, as well as with a 50% recycled yarn and a water-based glue. A solid and supportive running shoe, the ASICS Dynaflyte 3 Sound Running Shoe features full-length gel cushioning, offering pavement pounding you can feel good about.

Sperry 

sperry-bionic
Instagram/@sperry

Go-to boat shoe Sperry has taken a cue from other influential footwear brands and created a sneaker made from recycled ocean plastics. The brand’s recently-released Bionic line of sneakers are made from recycled ocean plastics and are actually refreshingly more affordable than a typical Sperry shoe. The shoe is the product of a partnership with Bionic Yarn, a textile company that turns marine plastics into fibres to make clothes and shoes. Available in a selection of styles and colours, each shoe is woven from an average of five plastic water bottles that have been recovered from marine environments.