Best Foot Forward
Run that extra mile and prioritise sustainability as you keep yourself fit with these three sneaker brands and their street-chic green options. Take global sports brand Puma, which has collaborated with recycling company First Mile, a people-focused network that strengthens micro-economies in Taiwan, Honduras and Haiti by collecting plastic bottles to create jobs and reduce pollution. The bottles are sorted, cleaned, shredded and turned into yarn.
The PUMA x FIRST MILE collection consists of shoes and apparel made from this recycled polyester yarn. “Even though one of the key benefits of this partnership is social impact, the Puma and First Mile programme has diverted over 40 tonnes of plastic waste from landfills and oceans, just for the products made for 2020. This roughly translates into 1,980,286 plastic bottles being reused,”says Stefan Seidel, head of corporate sustainability for Puma.
Also reforming plastic waste is the 110-year-old Converse, which, through its initiative Renew, is innovating more sustainable ways of creating its much-loved, iconic Chucks. Renew Canvas is made from 100 per cent recycled polyester from used plastic bottles while Renew Denim includes upcycled textiles that are crafted into the uppers of the Chuck Taylor and Chuck 70. This summer, Renew Cotton launches with a new process that incorporates 40 per cent recycled cotton canvas scraps from footwear manufacturing, to generate a yarn that then becomes the raw fabric of the renewed canvas upper.
While Puma and Converse have more recently begun leaning the narratives of their companies in favour of the environment, shoe company Veja has aimed to make shoe production ethical and more eco-friendly since its very inception 14 years ago. Organic cotton is sourced directly from farmers in Brazil and Peru while wild rubber is harvested by a cooperative of small farmers in the Amazon. The brand has also been experimenting with alternative materials such as tilapia skin and silk. They use chrome-free suedes and leathers. The V-10 sneakers with black details have a chunky outsole made of wild rubber from the Amazonian rainforest. The vegetable-tanned leather undergoes an innovative tanning process, during which heavy, hazardous metals or acids are not present.
So, on your mark, go…. See to it that the environment gets a healthy kick out of your super new sneaks.