Earth Day is upon us and while there are many big changes we can – and need – to make to our lifestyles to allow the planet to survive and thrive, even a small start like switching to sustainable sneakers helps. Because of the multi-material construction of many trainers, they can be one of the most difficult pieces of footwear to recycle, but the advancements in technology within fashion means that this issue can now be tackled at the very beginning of the creation process.
The inspiring activism by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, recent climate change protests across London and other global cities and the release of the eye-opening Our Planet series on Netflix has put a larger focus on how our consumption impacts and endangers the earth. While it’s hard to find completely sustainable sneakers, many brands out there are making a considered effort to produce ethically-made footwear with organic and recycled materials where possible, so we rounded up a few options that can help you keep the planet in mind when copping some brand new kicks.
Scroll below for our top picks and why not check out the Virgil Abloh x Evian sustainable water bottle too?
Every minute, a dump truck’s worth of plastic enters the oceans. This needs to end. With @oceanplastic, we transform plastic waste into symbols of change. For the oceans. ? The #UltraBOOST Parley in Deep Ocean Blue drops today: adidas.com/Parley Use them when you log more kms in the #adidasParley #Runfortheoceans.
adidas began its partnership with Parley in 2015 and has extended the product line from apparel to swimwear and footwear. Although the sneaker silhouettes include the hiking-appropriate Terrex and the statement Deerupt, the standout for us has to be the versatile ultraBOOST. The trademark breathable, knit upper is created from yarn that’s made with recycled plastic waste which has been collected from beaches and coastal communties – ensuring it’s intercepted before it ends up in our oceans. Ideal for performance and lifestyle, this trainer solidifies Three Stripes’ commitment to cleaning up our environment. Additionally, adidas recently announced the release of its innovative Futurecraft.LOOP, the first running shoe to be made with entirely recyclable materials, which is slated to arrive in 2021.
French brand Veja has aims to be the world’s most sustainable sneaker brand and with its focus on ethical production through every aspect of its business ensures its well on its way to reach that goal. The sleek and practical trainers are crafted from materials like organic cotton from Brazil and biodegradable wild rubber from the Amazon. Not only does the use of raw materials help solve the issue of discarded shoes ending up in landfill, it provides a way to employ independent workers directly from those regions. Even the way the brand packages and ships its products is considerate; it employs people to prepare orders through Atelier Sans Frontières – an organization that helps those who have been incarcerated or are struggling to find work. Find out more about Veja’s commitment to ethical footwear here and check out its vegan sneaker line too.
Stella McCartney has long been an advocate for sustainable design but her Loop trainer truly takes it to another level. The sock-like sneaker is engineered without any glue, which is a pretty big deal considering pretty much all sneakers do use glue of some variety to fuse all the different elements together. Thanks to the innovative construction, the stretchy sock upper can be removed from the chunky sole and each section can be individually recycled once its been worn out. We expect to see this method creeping into other products – mostly footwear – from Stella McCartney’s future collections too.
The minimalist’s favorite brand Everlane shook the fashion industry last week after announcing its foray into the sneaker market with its new label, Tread by Everlane. Built on a foundation to create the world’s lowest-impact trainers, made to last, rather than cater to an audience that disposes of sneaker as soon as the hype is over. Simply dubbed the Trainer, Everlane’s offering requires 18-percent less carbon emission than average sneakers during production, with laces made from polyester and insoles created from a foam material. Technically these aren’t quite available to buy right now but they will be dropping in six colorways online on April 25.